It was 18 days of sometimes violent demonstrations that forced the man who ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years to step down. Friday was the day the demonstrators had been awaiting. The announcement of Mr. Mubarak’s resignation drew an immediate roar of cheers and honking automobile horns throughout Cairo that went on for hours.
The announcement came from Vice President Omar Suleiman on state television.
He said Mr. Mubarak was stepping down and had asked the military to take control of the country. He ended his statement with the words “May God help everyone.”
Thousands headed to Cairo’s central Tahrir Square to join the tens of thousands already there. Among them was 33-year-old Eman Saad.
“My reaction? It’s amazing! Freedom!” said an jubilant Saad.
In Tahrir Square itself, there was euphoria. Demonstrators said this was the day they had waited decades to see. The celebrations in the first hours were peaceful, but sporadic gunfire was heard in central Cairo in the early evening Friday.
Only one day earlier, Mr. Mubarak had told the nation he would remain in power until elections in September. On Friday, reports said he had gone to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh.
According to Egypt’s constitution, the speaker of parliament becomes acting president, but with the military’s assumption of power, it was unclear whether this would happen.
The political future of Egypt remains uncertain.