Protesters are cheering outside key institutions in Egypt, as Vice President Omar Suleiman has announced that President Mubarak has stepped down and the military will take charge. It is the end of this chapter of the revolution, but Egypt's path towards democracy remains unclear.
The statement came as protests moved from Cairo's central Tahrir Square to outside the Presidential Palace and state media. Egypt's state TV and international media also confirmed that President Mubarak fled to Sharm el-Sheikh on Friday.
The protesters were angered by President Mubarak's speech Thursday, which dealt with constitutional change but was perceived as insufficient and patronizing. President Mubarak claimed to concede some presidential powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman, but neither the Obama administration nor the protesters believed that the action met the people's demands.
There were signs of cracking before Mubarak's fall. Hussam Badrawi, Secretary General of the ruling NDP party, resigned his position in a telephone interview with al-Hayat Television. The military progressively removed barb wire fences blocking access to key institutions and a central bridge across the Nile, but maintained guard over the state buildings themselves. The state media had also taken the unprecedented step of criticizing the regime on national television.