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Friday, February 11, 2011

Egyptians Cheer Mubarak Exit - Bloomberg

Egyptians Cheer Mubarak Exit

Egyptian anti-government protesters celebrate at Cairo's Tahrir square on February 11, 2011 after president Hosni Mubarak stepped down. Photographer: Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of Egyptians outside Hosni Mubarak’s palace erupted in euphoria when a general of the presidential guard announced he had resigned.

Some screamed uncontrollably as they hugged and kissed their friends, and even strangers, outside a three meter-tall barbed-wire wall protecting the palace in Heliopolis, northeast of Cairo. Some broke into tears. Some just knelt and kissed the ground.

“I feel like I’ve been reborn,” said Aya Hamdy, a 20- year-old fine-arts student. “I feel like I now have a future to look forward to. The military will do the right thing.”

Mubarak, 82, Egypt’s president a full decade before Hamdy was born, stepped down today after 18 days of protests that left more than 300 people dead and brought the country’s economy to a standstill. Most of the people celebrating near the palace expressed their trust in the military’s ability to manage the transition, even as others were less certain. The institution hasn’t fought in a war since 1973, instead building bridges, hospitals and, since Jan. 28, ensuring the security of protesters in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

In a televised statement two hours after Mubarak’s resignation was announced, Egypt’s armed-forces council said it doesn’t regard itself as an alternative to a government that derives its legitimacy from the people.

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