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As it happened: Egypt unrest day 18

  • Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resigned after more than two weeks of growing protests against him across the country. The news was greeted with a massive outburst of joy and riotous celebration by hundreds of thousands of people in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
  • Mr Mubarak's powers will be taken over by the Higher Council of the Armed Forces. It said it understood the people's demand for radical change.
  • The opposition figure, Mohammed ElBaradei, described the resignation of Mr Mubarak as the greatest day of his life, while a Muslim Brotherhood leader said Egyptians had made history.
  • US President Barack Obama said Mr Mubarak's resignation was just the start of Egypt's transformation. He called on the military to lift the state of emergency and prepare for free and fair elections.
  • Live page reporters: Aidan Lewis, Adam Blenford, David Gritten, Michael Dobie and Michael Hirst.
  • All times in GMT.

0105 We're going to close down the BBC's minute-by-minute coverage of events in Egypt for now. Thanks for following developments with us, and we hope you'll join us for more of the same on Saturday, when we'll be keeping a close eye on how Egypt adapts to life after Hosni Mubarak.

0101The BBC's North America editor, Mark Mardell, says: "Egypt is a vital ally of America in the region and some here are nervous of what the change will mean. The White House insists that the demonstrator represented a broad range of people not dominated by a single ideology, and that there is nothing to fear from democracy. No-one in the administration or Western diplomatic circles echoes the fears of some conservatives that the Muslim Brotherhood is a dangerous force, that could take over and turn and ally into an enemy. But the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, has stressed that it is important that the next government recognise the peace treaty with Israel. President Obama has spoken of the Egyptian people as an inspiration, like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Some autocratic allies of America in the region might find these words uncomfortable. But the White House singles out one country that should heed the message from Egypt. Protests are planned in Iran, and the US says the government there is scared of the will of its people."

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0059 Naser K tweets: "behind every Arab revolution is a facebook page and a hashtag #jan25."

0057Samer Shehata, an assistant professor of Arab Politics at Georgetown University in Washington, agrees. "Tantawi is certainly tainted," he tells the BBC. "The people underneath him, including the four other individuals sitting on the higher military council have much more legitimacy now. If he were to leave, that would be acceptable for the great majority of Egyptians for the immediate period."

0055 Mr Cook says Field Marsham Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the defence minister and head of the higher military council, is "one of the least charismatic figures in all the Middle East". "He owes his position to his relationship to Mr Mubarak. He came to the president's attention through providing security for his family. He is not known to be a great strategic thinker. A Mubarak loyalist is now in charge of the country," he adds.

0053Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations tells the BBC: "It's certainly not martial law in Egypt at the moment. The military is in charge of the country. But it is unclear if this is the road to democracy. If you look at Military Communique Number Two, it tracks very closely to what President Mubarak said in his three addresses to the nation. There is clearly hard work ahead for the Egyptian people if they want to live in a democratic and open society."

0052Interesting take over at The Atlantic on how Egypt's revolution is playing in Beijing - The View of Cairo from Authoritarian International. Take a look at the article here.

0050A word of caution for jubilant Egyptians from the former UN Deputy Secretary-General, Lord Malloch Brown. "Tonight is certainly a night to celebrate," he tells the BBC. "But tomorrow morning I think is going to be a real time for reflection because I think this is really two armies. It's a younger army of people who were out there trying to guard the square and who let kids and families climb all over the tanks and clearly felt a generational empathy. But it's an army also of elderly generals, who've been some of the most conservative backers of President Mubarak for the last 30 years, and so I think you're going to see a fissure within the army if the generals try to hold out for stability over democracy."

0046Fawaz Gerges, a professor at the London School of Economics, tells the BBC that Egypt's new leaders face a mammoth task. "Hosni Mubarak leaves behind a broken country, broken institutions, and abject poverty. More than 40% of the 84 million Egyptians live either in poverty or below the poverty line. There is decadent wealth. Corruption has penetrated all aspects of life. Egypt used to be the jewel of the East. Egypt today is a broken country."

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0041Acclaimed novelist Paulo Coelho tweets: "The world only gets better because people risk something to make it better. Congrats Egypt."

0037Rami Khouri, editor-at-large of the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut, tells the BBC that all of the Arab leaders are aware that the fact that the underlying stresses in Tunisia and Egypt are common across the region, including autocracy, corruption, and a lack of democracy. "The consequences will be felt in every Arab country, but in different forms and at different paces," he says. "The Arab leaders know stay in power. They know how to loosen up when they have to. But now, it may be too late, and they may not be able to use the same old tricks. Some of them will be able to ride it out and stay in power with serious changes. Others will have to go into exile and turn over power to a new generation."

0031Rifaat Said, the secretary-general of the Tagammu party, says: "Mubarak made a lot of mistakes but he stepped down in the end and it was necessary he could not continue with the entire people demanding his resignation and it's clear the army played a central role in achieving this. I congratulate Egyptian youth - they have given us something nice and it'll be a model for many countries. The higher army council has behaved in a balanced way and that's encouraging. They didn't use violent language or come out firing weapons. There is concern but I think the army knows how to sort things out."

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0026 Alexia Tsotsis, writing on Techcrunch, says: "Do I think the Internet is partially responsible for Mubarak's resignation? Yes, I do as naive as that might seem to some."

0023Mahmoud Abaza, a senior member of the Wafd party, tells the Reuters news agency: "Many chances were lost to solve this crisis but, thank God, we found a solution. A president who should have been a symbol of the nation became a source of discord. We have closed the page on an Egypt that lasted a long time where Egyptians could not choose, hold accountable or change their leader." He adds: "We must be careful of seeing off one dictatorship and stepping into another, so this is a critical period. The army could remain with old ideas and prefer the system over freedom, though this is not very likely. Secondly, a force like the Muslim Brotherhood could dominate the political process but we have enough experience to avoid this and they do too. Thirdly, the youth could lose hope and interest in public affairs and lose the power that can push Egypt into the future."

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0021Amal Mousatafa, from Cairo, writes: "So happy, it's been a historic day today. Everyone is so happy for the first time. So proud to be Egyptian. God bless Egypt."

0016Leslie Croxford of the British University in Cairo tells the BBC: "I think that the generals have come in very unwillingly at this moment. But they realise that they have to deliver for people power. The people power has become an absolutely crucial element of the atmosphere and what you could almost say will now be the new constitution in Egypt. I am very optimistic. I believe that there is such a surge of positive feeling and belief in Egyptians at this moment, that this is a tremendous moment."

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0009 As people unwind after an incredibly tense couple of weeks in Egypt, there are plenty of jokes doing the rounds about the situation on social media websites Sultan Al Qassemi tweets one he received via SMS: "Dear Arab people: What happens in Egypt stays in Egypt. Sincerely, Arab dictators."

0007BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says: "Immediate questions focus on the foreign policy of the new Egypt. Will it be as friendly with Israel? Will it continue to seek to isolate Hamas? Will it continue to be the bulwark of US effort to create an Arab coalition to contain Iran? Could it become a more independent actor - still a friend of Washington, but pursuing its own distinctive path in the way Turkish foreign policy has evolved in recent years? These questions will not be answered any time soon. But in one sense they are parochial dealing only with Egypt's immediate neighbourhood. The impact of the upheavals in Cairo - the overthrow of authoritarianism in arguably the Arab world's most important capital - could have a galvanising effect well beyond its borders. Will other authoritarian governments fall? What new pressures for democratic change will the Egyptian example unleash? Instability and uncertainty could be the keynotes of the region for some time to come. But there are many who have long argued that the only fundamental answer to the Middle East's socio-economic malaise is democracy - genuine political transformation. And here Egypt is pioneering a path towards one possible future for the region as a whole."

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0004 Amid all the momentous events, Andy Borowitz has been injecting an element of humour into proceedings via twitter. Here's his latest offering: "I want to praise the people of #Egypt for their bravery. Speaking as an abject coward, I am in awe of you."

0001Ahmed Raafat, one of the protesters in Cairo, tells the BBC: "We were expecting Mubarak to step down yesterday. Today's resignation was unexpected. I have mixed feelings. I feel happy but afraid of what comes next. The next couple of months will be tough. We don't know where we are going and what is ahead. I am afraid of the future but afraid with hope."

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2356 Monasosh is being widely retweeted: "I'm in Tahrir square. This is where it all started on #Jan25 when we declared our demands ppl thought we were mad. Look where madness got us"

2354 Mr Ishaq adds: "Now we'll discuss our demands with the army. We need six months to a year for transition. We need a technocratic government to form a committee to write a new constitution, and then carry out parliamentary and presidential elections. The army understand the situation, their role is temporary."

2353George Ishaq, a leader of the opposition Kefaya (Enough) movement, says this was a "spontaneous revolt without leadership". "I've not seen anything like it. This wave could sweep away all the tyrants in the Arab world - they are all shaking," he tells the Reuters news agency. "Mubarak was the ultimate despot. He frustrated us all with his insistence on staying. It's unreal to see this."

2352Former US Deputy Defence Secretary and World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz says Egypt's revolution is a great moment for democracy, but that he regrets the US had not intervened to raise more objections to Mr Mubarak's regime. "I wish we'd done more," he tells the BBC. "I'd been arguing for a long time in fact that it's a mistake, as in fact President George W Bush said it's a mistake to trade freedom for stability - you end up with neither and I think if we'd been more in the forefront here we might have more influence."

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2347 BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner tweets: "Mubarak's departure now leaves political power gap in Mideast. #Egypt Expect renewed rivalry for influence between Saudi and Iran."

2344There has been no word from Bahrain's government on Mr Mubarak's resignation, although King Hamad unexpectedly announced afterwards that he would give 1,000 dinars ($2,650) to each Bahraini family "to praise the 10th anniversary of the National Action Charter and in recognition of the people of Bahrain". The move by the Sunni monarch comes ahead of protests by the Shia majority next week.

2342The UAE's government said it had "confidence" in the ability of Egypt's armed forces in "running the country's affairs". Qatar meanwhile said it "expresses its respect for the will of the Egyptian people and their choices".

2341Two hours after the announcement that Mr Mubarak had resigned, Saudi Arabia's state news agency had posted a single, terse report, according to the Wall Street Journal. The turmoil in Egypt comes at a particularly sensitive time for Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah is recuperating from a back operation in Morocco, while the crown prince has been absent for much of the past two years for medical treatment.

2340Strong analysis from the Wall Street Journal on how rattled Egypt's regional allies will be by today's momentous events. Saudi Arabia and Israel in particular, it argues, will be on the defensive. Read the full article here.

2336Another Muslim Brotherhood leader, Helmi el-Gazzar, tells the BBC's Newsnight programme that the West had nothing to fear from the Islamist movement. "This is the first time that the Muslim Brotherhood shares in a revolution," he says. "We will not for many years introduce any candidate for the presidency because now we are in a very risky situation. Egypt needs to share every political party, and we'll just share and we'll not dominate this state or the government in Egypt."

2333A senior member of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, Issam al-Aryan, tells the Reuters news agency this has been an "historic day for all Egyptians". "All Egyptians were united behind one goal, the overthrow of the regime and the building of a new democratic one. The ball is now in the court of the higher military council, which has said that it is going to take sound measures. We are optimistic."

2327Egypt's president has gone, and the system that sustained him will be the next target of the people of Egypt, says BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen. They will be looking to the army to help make that happen. If the generals are reluctant to introduce democracy, the assumption would be that the protesters would return to the streets, he adds.

2324A note of caution from the folks over at the Economist's Democracy in America blog. "Mr Mubarak's departure guarantees nothing and that it is not unreasonable to fear a turn for the worse," it opines. Read the full post here.
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2320Mr Moussa also denies that there has effectively been a military coup in Egypt: "This is a popular revolution, a popular uprising that has influenced events. It's not a coup. The president stepped down, and handed over power to the higher military council, just to arrange things - I don't know the details of this - but no, it is not a coup."

2318Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, an Egyptian, tells BBC World Service that President Mubarak's departure is an opportunity to build a national consensus. "This is a historic moment for Egypt, Egyptians, and even the Arab world - an unprecedented step, an unprecedented wide revolution and national consensus that has created an exceptional situation in Egypt. Now is the moment to build a national consensus to move towards the future, and I believe the future - our future, Egyptian future - should be built on both democracy and reform. And I think this will be the case. I'm very optimistic about that future after the events of the last couple of weeks, and in particular today."

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2316The impact of social media on recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt is an issue of fierce debate, but for those who use Twitter or Facebook, there is little doubt. Sandmonkey tweets: "Dear friends on Twitter, your support carried us through some of our darkest nights. THANK YOU! #jan25."

2314It's after one o'clock in the morning in Egypt, and the party's still going strong in Tahrir Square. The crowd's latest chant? "We want Mubarak's $70bn back."

2312The BBC's Helena Merriman in Cairo says: "A man in Tahrir Square told us: 'We've built Egypt's fourth pyramid - the pyramid of freedom.'"

2311Wael Ghonim, the prominent Egyptian activist and Google executive, tells al-Arabiya that he is sure the gains made so far by the protesters will not be reversed. "There is some apprehension, but the general consensus is that the goodwill is showing. There is some apprehension that all those reforms were a mere play, but it is clear that it is not the case and there is seriousness in carrying them out. Personally, I am certain that there is seriousness and that the gains made will not be touched."

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2309 The BBC's Lyse Doucet in Cairo tweets: "I keep remembering the Arab pundit who said at end 2010 'nothing happened in Arab world this yr.' And now.. #jan25 #egypt"

2304Democratic member of the US House of Representatives John Lewis, a veteran of the civil rights movement, has posted this on his website : "What we have witnessed in Egypt today is nothing short of a non-violent revolution. The peacefulness of this transition on the streets of Cairo is a testament to the people of Egypt--to the discipline of the protestors and the military--who resisted any temptation to descend into brutality. They demonstrated so eloquently the power of peace to persistently broadcast their message of change."

2300 The BBC's Mark Urban says the Egyptian military regards itself as the guardian of Egypt's future, and all eyes will be on how it handles the post-Mubarak transition of power. Chatham House's Claire Spencer tells BBC Newsnight the younger generation of activists needs to be included in talks about what's next for the country.

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2256Around the world, political heavyweights have been delivering their verdicts on the significance of events in Egypt. English social commentator Richard Madeley tweets: "Even in the Bible/Koran/Tora, Egypt was in slavery/bondage.Tonight, we have seen the chains snap. Pretty incredible, historically speaking."

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2252Here's an update on that protest in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, that we mentioned earlier, from Toronto Star National Security Reporter Michelle Shephard who tweets: "More than 1,000 still in Tahrir Square in centre of Sana'a. Riot police wait on streets and circle the area with checkpoints. #Yemen".

2245Twelve days ago, Samir Radwan was appointed Egypt's finance minister. The BBC asked him if he still had a job: "Nobody has told me anything to the contrary, I am doing my business as usual because this is a very important part of the life of the country so I am doing my duties because also you know for the finance minister as well as the governor of the central bank, we have a duty towards the outside world, we have contacts with the investors, we have contacts with the international financial organisations. I think it is extremely important that there is no breakdown in that and so far there has not been any breakdown."

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2241 Dr Sherif Elkholy from Cairo writes: "We are now at a crossroads - we either make this a new beginning for a better, democratic Egypt or it can become a disaster if the military decides to cling on to power and the footsteps of democracy get blown away by the winds of military or theological rule." Let us konw what you think on Have Your Say.

2238 If you're just joining us, welcome. Here's a quick summary: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has resigned after more than two weeks of protests against his authoritarian rule. His powers have been taken over by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, headed by the long-serving defence minister, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. Mr Mubarak, who had on Thursday refused to step down, is now in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The news of his resignation has been greeted with a massive outburst of celebration by hundreds of thousands of people in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where the party is continuing late into the night.

2237 Thanks for following the latest news from Egypt with the BBC. We'll be bringing you minute-by-minute updates until late into the night, with analysis from our correspondents on the ground, and reaction from around the world. Do send us your thoughts by email, text or twitter - we'll publish what we can.

2236 The BBC's World Affairs Editor John Simpson has been sifting through the events since 25 January, looking at the role of the army in Mr Mubarak's ouster: "The Egyptian army found itself in the middle, unwilling until the very end to force President Mubarak out, yet deeply hostile to any suggestion that the soldiers should remove the demonstrators from Tahrir Square in Cairo by force. It is still too soon to know for certain what made Mr Mubarak step down, but it seems a reasonable assumption that the army leadership could see the hairline cracks appearing among their own officer corps. The generals were inclined to side with the president, one of their own, and the more junior officers sympathised with the demonstrators. Here's more of John's analysis.

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2225 Interesting blog by Adam Westbrook, drawing a connection between Egypt's revolution and what he calls "revolutions in society, careers, technology - and yes, journalism, which are reforging the way the world works". See the full post here.

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2223A sobering reminder of some of the darker aspects of Egypt's past from Monasosh , who tweets: "We should go & celebrate in front of Omraneya police station. They were famous for torturing ppl"

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2220More on the giant street party still unrolling in Cairo, from Associated Press Middle East correspondent Hadeel Al-Shalchi who tweets: "So surreal to see places in Cairo that were spots of violence 2 weeks ago turn into dance parties #egypt #jan25."

2218 Meanwhile, the global markets seem to have been cheered by the news of Mr Mubarak's resignation, with major stock indices climbing climbing and the price of oil falling. There had been concerns that almost three weeks of anti-government protests could have spread across the region and added to market volatility, but analysts say transfer of power has helped make Egypt's political future a little clearer, boosting investor sentiment. Check the BBC's latest business story for details.

2216
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Back-handed praise for Mr Mubarak from Shereef Abbas , who tweets: "Back home after the most amazing street parties #Egypt has ever seen in decades. Thank you #Mubarak for uniting us once again. #Jan25"

2214Tunisian TV carries a report on the interim government there - in place after long-term President Ben Ali was toppled on 14 January - expressing its "admiration for the struggle of the fraternal Egyptian people and for the heroic sacrifices made the young Egyptian martyrs". The report also says the Tunisian government "appraised the patriotic spirit of the Egyptian army and its decisive role in protecting Egypt and its people during this difficult phase".

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2207Midnight in Cairo, and while it's not the New Year, it's definitely the start of something, as Lyse Doucet tweets: "The streets are still a riot of celebration... horns honking, flags waving & an occasional firecracker #jan25 #egypt."

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2204There's definitely an international flavour to this party now. Jakob Kahlen tweets: "I like the sound of Egyptians honking their horns and howling through the streets of Copenhagen. Sounds like freedom :-) #Egypt."

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2202 From Cairo, the BBC's Lyse Doucet tweets: "Shady el Ghazalyharb, youth leader @BBCWorld '' they call us kids..but look what the kids have done'' #jan25 #egypt."

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2158 Lama Hasan tweets: "In true Arab fashion, the jokes have started. Gaddafi has cancelled Fridays...after Ben Ali and Mubarak both left on a Friday #Egypt"


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2154 The BBC's Tim Whewell in Cairo tweets: "#Egypt Passed a sign which read Tahrir Square - closed for constitutional changes... reopened due to regime change. Lots of witty stuff"

2149Baher Ibrahim, in Alexandria, tells the BBC that it feels like a dream: "This is one of the greatest days of my life. I am proud to have participated in this revolution from the start. I am now definitely proud to be an Egyptian, and I am sure better days are to come for Egypt. I hope that the army will dissolve the current government and just have a temporary role to restore order and stability until there are elections. I just have one request: Please do not say 'former President Mubarak'. Say 'ousted President Mubarak'."

2145 Aisha Saad tweets: "Crew of us going 2 Tahrir after crowds clear postsunrise w trashbags, detol, cleaning supplies - time 2 start nation-building! #egypt #jan25"
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2144 Journalist Amira Salah-Ahmed tweets: "Cairo is a pedestrian zone tonite... biggest party ever #tahrir"
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2142Will Algeria be the next North African state to see a longstanding president overthrown? The BBC's Chloe Arnold, in Algiers, says opposition parties and human rights groups plan to gather in the capital on Saturday to call for more democracy and more jobs - a rally the government has banned. "On Friday, police prevented people from going out onto the streets to celebrate the resignation of Mr Mubarak. Algeria was hit by a wave of unrest at the beginning of the year, over price hikes for sugar and cooking oil. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has promised to reduce the prices, but the government is watching events in Tunisia and Egypt very closely, and will want to avert any similar popular uprisings in Algeria," she says.

2137Britain's Defence Secretary Liam Fox has been weighing in on events in Egypt as well: "One of the positive things that we've seen in the last three weeks has been the fact that the Egyptian army has been united rather than divided, it's been secular, and its been independent and I think that should give us some hope for the future. Exactly what will happen, none of us really know.

2136The BBC's Steve Kingstone, in Washington, says the White House is trying to deny that it has been powerless to influence events in Egypt: "Behind the scenes, officials are trying to give the impression that Washington wasn't, as someone suggested, completely impotent during the last 24 hours. The White House would certainly admit it was taken by surprise when 24 hours or so ago Hosni Mubarak did not resign. But in a briefing after President Obama spoke, his press secretary said there were indications on Friday morning that in the White House, and possibly still on Thursday night, he said, that the end of the story had not been written. And we know for example, from Pentagon officials that Defence Secretary Robert Gates spoke to Field Marshal Tantawi late on Thursday to express America's concerns about the risks of Hosni Mubarak staying in power."

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2134 Egypt's celebrations have spread to London, from where Harriet Alexander tweets: "Street party on Edgware Rd - cars honking horns, children on parents' shoulders, waving #Egypt flags. Little Cairo in London."

2131There's no sign of the celebrations dying down in Tahrir Square. The BBC's Yolande Knell says everyone has spilled out onto the streets to party. "Soldiers lift small, smiling children onto their tanks to pose for photos, whole families are flying flags and wearing matching hats in red, white and black as they walk along the Corniche by the Nile, and motorcyclists precariously weave their way through the crowds yelling 'Egypt, Egypt,'" she says. The demonstrators' barricades that controlled entry to the square have been dismantled, and security checkpoints have all gone, she adds.

2130Dr Nagib adds: "This is a momentous event in the history if the Egyptian people. It will change the whole Arab region. Today, we have freed ourselves from the military dictatorship. I saw in the eyes of every Egyptian a sense of dignity. People have been changed. We want to be a free country."

2128Dr Mohamed Nagib, in Cairo, tells the BBC: "I took my little girls, wife and brother and their children onto the streets. We were all there - dancing, chanting and singing that we are the Egyptian people and we have taken back our freedom. We got on the tanks and chanted our celebrations. We put our hands together with our flags - everyone - the old and the young. It was indescribable. I felt completely exalted. I felt proud to be an Egyptian."

2126The BBC's Katie Connolly in Washington says: "White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked repeatedly about what messages he had for the people of Jordan and Saudi Arabia - two of America's closest allies in the region - who are also rising up against powerful, unelected leaders. His answers were vague and cautious, particularly when compared with his strident tone on Iran."

2120The BBC's Wyre Davies in Tahrir Square says: "There are hundreds and thousands of joyful celebrating Egyptians down in Tahrir Square. Interestingly, there are a lot of people bedding down for the night again. Whether they're doing that for nostalgic reasons, whether some of them don't quite yet think their work is finished and they need to protect the square, as it were, protect their positions in the square until they are sure what's going to come next. But the overwhelming mood down in the square is a positive one."

2117More than 4,000 people have crowded outside the Egyptian embassy in the Jordanian capital, Amman, setting off fireworks, waving Egyptian flags and shouting congratulatory words to celebrate Mr Mubarak's resignation. Jordanians say they want more participation in the political process and to be able to elect their prime minister, but quickly add that they love King Abdullah II and want their monarchy to remain. The BBC's Dale Gavlak says the revolt in Egypt is spurring them on to further press their demands for more democracy.

2114Meanwhile in Yemen, thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of the capital, Sanaa, to celebrate the events in Egypt, according to the AFP news agency. One banner in the crowd read: "We congratulate the Arab nation on the departure of Hosni Mubarak." There were earlier protests in the south of the country to demand secession from the north. There have been several weeks of anti-government demonstrations in Yemen, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been in power since 1978.

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2112 The BBC's Mishal Husain tweets: "Muslim Brotherhood tell me they trust the army to regard this as a transition and hand over power in due course. More on @BBCNewsnight". If in the UK, you can catch tonight's Newsnight at 2230GMT on BBC 2.

2109The BBC's James Reynolds says: "Iran has been following events in Egypt with tremendous interest. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast gave the government's first reaction. He told one state TV channel that the Egyptian people have achieved a 'great victory'. In recent weeks, Iran's establishment has made its position clear: the demonstrations in both Tunisia and Egypt were each inspired by Iran's own Islamic Revolution of 1979. It is a claim which is denied by many in Egypt. And by chance, the anniversary of Iran's revolution fell this Friday - it was commemorated with rallies across the country. In a speech delivered early in the day, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged protestors in Egypt to keep going. A few hours later, Egypt's president stepped down. So from now on, the people of Iran and the people of Egypt will each mark the fall of their long-time leaders on the same day."

2106The BBC's Katie Connolly in Washington detects a deliberate White House strategy to draw attention to Iran. "It's no coincidence that Vice-President Joe Biden also mentioned Iran in his appearance today," she says.

2104More from White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, this time a warning for Iran: "The Iranian government should allow the Iranian people to exercise the very same right of peaceful assembly and the ability to communicate their desires." Iran's government was, he added, "quite frankly scared of the will of its people".

2102 Blogger Sandmonkey tweets: " My aunt-who lives next to Mubarak- told me the guards started firing in celebration the moment he left. REVOLUTION! #JAN25"
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2056The BBC's Kevin Connolly in Jerusalem says: "The news that Hosni Mubarak had finally released his tenacious grip on power came just as Israel was settling into the weekly shutdown that marks its religious day of rest. The Israeli government may be been grateful for the extra hours to formulate a full, official response. It will be forced to join the general welcome for the manner in which a non-democratic regime has been toppled by people power. But privately there will be deep concern about what the change will mean for Israel's relationship with Egypt. For more than 30 years, the peace treaty between the two countries has offered proof that Israel can co-exist with its largest Arab neighbour. Mr Mubarak was able to maintain a peace which was unpopular with his people because he was immune to the pressures of democracy. Israel will now hope for stability during a transition managed by the Egyptian army and wait to see what a more democratic regime in Cairo will mean, if it comes. As a sign of what is at stake in the region, the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has been celebrating in the Gaza Strip. Mr Mubarak, a tireless hammer of Islamism was happy to treat Hamas as a common enemy alongside Israel. A future Egyptian leader may not."

2054White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says it is important that the next government of Egypt recognise the 1979 peace treaty it signed with Israel.

2046 CNN's Nic Robertson tweets: "Atmosphere remains absolutely euphoric here in Tahrir Square... all our dreams come true, a young woman says. #egypt #mubarak #jan25."
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2044The UK's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, also promises its full support to the Egyptian people, but says the military will now need to take Egypt forward. "There is a huge responsibility on the military leadership of Egypt to implement concrete and irrevocable changes in Egypt, including the holding of free and fair elections," he says. "Any attempt to turn the clock back would be deeply damaging to the stability and cohesion of Egypt, very undermining of its international reputation, and now the whole world will be looking to them to deliver those democratic changes and reforms."

2038Following from this idea, Shibley Tehhami in a post on the Politico website , says that the events in Egypt are Osama bin Laden's worst nightmare, but warns of possible bad dreams for the US as well. "Peaceful masses, not the murder of innocents, overthrew a regime most thought was entrenched. If the demonstrators fail to fulfill their aspirations, it will be America's nightmare."

2036The BBC's Kim Ghattas in Washington says: "The United States may have lost a long-time ally in Mr Mubarak, but President Barack Obama welcomed the peaceful transition of power in Egypt and recognised the historic moment this was for the country. He promised the US would be a friend and partner. The American president warned that there were many unanswered questions, but he that he was confident the people of Egypt would find the answers peacefully."

2032Mr Obama waxing poetic in his address: "Egyptians have inspired us. They have done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice best gained through violence. For in Egypt, it was the moral force of non-violence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but non-violence, moral force, that bent the arc of history toward justice once more."

2013He adds: "The United States will continue to be a friend and partner to Egypt. We stand ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary and asked for to pursue a credible transition to democracy."

2011President Obama says: "The military has served patriotically and responsibly as a caretaker to the state and will now have to ensure a transition that is credible in the eyes of the Egyptian people. That means protecting the rights of Egypt's citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free. Above all this transition must bring all of Egypt's voices to the table."

2009He adds: "By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change. But this is not the end of Egypt's transition. It is a beginning. I am sure there will be difficult days ahead and many questions remain unanswered. But I am confident that the people of Egypt can find the answers and do so peacefully, constructively, and in the spirit of unity that have defined these past few weeks."

2007Mr Obama says: "There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments. This is one of those times. The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same."


2006US President Barack Obama is speaking about the situation in Egypt.

2003Amr Moussa has announced that he will step down as head of the Arab League "within weeks", Egyptian state media report. Mr Moussa, who has headed the pan-Arab body for about 10 years, has been tipped by some as a possible candidate for the Egyptian presidency.

2000 Blogger Sandmonkey tweets: "80 million egyptians, 80 million stories of revolution. Congrats to all of us. #jan25"
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1959CBS News's Chip Reid has confirmation that US President Barack Obama has not spoken to any Egyptian leaders today.

1956Egypt's Defence Minister and head of the higher military council, Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, has been spotted in the vicinity of the presidential palace in the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis. Crowds gathered outside to demand Mr Mubarak's resignation cheered him, according to the AFP news agency. He reportedly stopped his motorcade and got out to thank them before moving on.

1949More from the BBC's Paul Adams in Alexandria: "I have not spoken to anyone tonight who has said to me they have any misgivings about the ability of the army to maintain order in this uncertain interim period. At the end of last month, Alexandria paid its own price in blood as the police attempted to quash the first protests here."

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1947Raul from India writes: "Congratulations to the people of Egypt for your great sacrifice and steadfastness in the face of a tyrant, finally this revolution has made a new beginning in a history of Egypt. Now, it is time to bring him and his thugs to justice for crimes he committed against you for last 30 years. Now you are free to choose a leader." Have Your Say

1946 Channel 4's Lindsey Hilsum tweets: "When did people ever celebrate a military takeover like #egypt? Mubarak was from the military. Now soldiers salute the people."
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1945The BBC's Paul Adams describes the reaction in Egypt's second city, Alexandria: "It felt like people here were venting their feelings for the first time in a very long time. For the last hour-and-a-half I've been in a traffic jam along Alexandria's famous Corniche. It is one big ecstatic, noisy traffic jam with everyone it seems in Alexandria anxious to come down here and join in the party."

1943The BBC's Katie Connolly says the White House has explained that President Obama's statement was delayed earlier this afternoon because he was in the Situation Room with his national security advisers.

1939The BBC's Rana Jawad in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, says: "It has been a long and surreal day for many here, who keenly watched events unfold in neighbouring Egypt on their television screens. But it was not on national news broadcasters that they relied on - Libyan state TV waited for almost an hour to mention the announcement on the ticker at the bottom of the screen. The reaction has mostly been one of excitement, but at times accompanied by a degree of bewilderment at the speed of the developments in Egypt, and caution over what is to come after. All this expressed in private or on social networking sites like Facebook. However the key message from the Libyan public is that they are proud of their neighbours. The Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, has so far remained silent over developments in Egypt, so too have most officials here, though it is believed the majority are unhappy that two long-serving heads of state have been ousted by popular protests so far this year. Col Gaddafi has been in power for 41 years."

1935The BBC's Owen Bennett-Jones in Beirut says: "For over two weeks now many Lebanese people have been following closely the news from Egypt, and now Hosni Mubarak has gone there is a sense of pride that Arabs, with no need for help from outside powers, have forced democratic change by peaceful protest. At one bar in Beirut, in which a huge TV screen showed the pictures from Cairo, the management handed out free drinks to help the clientele celebrate the news. Many Lebanese are now wondering what happens next and they say they are hopeful that more authoritarian regimes in the Middle East will succumb to people power."

1933People across the Arab World have also been reacting to the news of President Mubarak's resignation. In Tunisia, where people overthrew their own president last month, there was dancing in the streets, and car horns were blared in celebration. There was also jubilation across the Palestinian territories, where people sang the Egyptian national anthem. The Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip, said it was the start of the Egyptian revolution. In Lebanon, the militant Hezbollah movement congratulated the Egyptian people on a great victory.

1928 Journalist Sharif Kouddous tweets: "Every street is filled with people cheering, celebrating, honking, dancing. Indescribable. #Egypt"
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1927The BBC's Katie Connolly at the White House says: "On big international stories like this, the intramural politics of the administration are always compelling. The state department has cancelled its press briefing for the second day in a row, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been noticeably quiet this week. The implication is clear: the White House is squarely in control of the message on Egypt, and they want communication discipline. They can't risk muddied waters on an issue as delicate as this. Mr Obama is both the messenger, and the message."

1923BBC Monitoring reports that Egyptian state media are celebrating Mr Mubarak's resignation, calling it an "exceptional night". They have been broadcasting several interviews with some of the protesters. Earlier in the day, a correspondent for both state TV channels spoke to protesters gathered outside their offices. One said: "I call on the minister of defence to force Hosni Mubarak and his thieves to leave." At that point, the presenter in the studio asked the correspondent to tell the protester that he was speaking live and the world was seeing and listening to him. "Let him select his words and avoid insults, please," he advised.

1915 Activist Gigi Ibrahim tweets: "Time to go celebrate before the real hard work begins… Viva Egypt"
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1907French President Nicolas Sarkozy urges Egypt to "take steps that lead to establishment of democratic institutions through free and transparent elections". He describes Mr Mubarak's decision to step down as "courageous and necessary" at a "historic moment". "France urges the Egyptian authorities to proceed as fast as feasible with the reforms needed to turn Egypt into a free and pluralist society," he adds.

1904 Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who has played a prominent role in the protests, tweets: "The military statement is great. I trust our Egyptian Army #Jan25"
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1903The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan witnessed scenes of jubilation as American-Egyptians arrived for Friday prayers at the Dar al-Hijrah Isalmic Centre in Falls Church, Virginia. "It came earlier than expected," says Elamira Oraby. "I thought today will be Bloody Friday in Egypt. Everybody is happy, even Americans from different countries praying here."

1858 Al-Jazeera journalist Evan Hill tweets: "All of Cairo is a party. Never seen anything like this. Fireworks down in Tahrir, Like a weight has been lifted off the Egyptian people."
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1850The BBC's Matt Frei in Washington says the repercussions now also depend on what the US administration says to the Israelis, hunkering down nervously, and a host of Arab princes, emirs and presidents, who will be nervously twitching their embroidered curtains to see what's happening on the Arab Street. Suffice it to say, it is time for President Obama to earn his Nobel Peace Prize.

1848US President Barack Obama's statement on the situation in Egypt is now expected at 1945 GMT.

1846More from Ban Ki-moon: "The voice of the Egyptian people - particularly the youth - has been heard and it is for them to determine the future of their country. I commend the people of Egypt for the peaceful, courageous and orderly manner, in which they have exercised their legitimate rights. I call on all parties to continue in the same sprit."

1843UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon salutes a "historic moment" in Egypt. "I respect what must have been a difficult decision taken in the wider interests of the Egyptian people," he says. "I reiterate my call, made as recently as last night, for a transparent, orderly and peaceful transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, and includes free, fair, and credible elections leading to the early establishment of civilian rule."

1839The military's statement concludes: "The Higher Council of the Armed Forces sends its salutations and appreciation to President Muhamamd Husni Mubarak for all he has contributed to the national effort, in peace and war, and for his patriotic stance in preferring the greater good for the nation. The higher council also salutes the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives to protect the freedom of their country."

1837He adds: "The council will later issue another statement outlining the steps and procedures and directives that will be taken, confirming at the same time that there is no alternative to the legitimacy acceptable to the people."

1836The military spokesman says: "Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down as president of the republic and to entrust the Higher Council of the Armed Forces to administer the affairs of the state. We know the extent of the gravity and seriousness of this issue and the demands of the people to initiate radical changes. The higher military council is studying this issue to achieve the hopes of our great people."

1830The military says it is preparing steps to fulfil the Egyptian people's legitimate aspirations.

1827The Higher Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces is making another statement - "Communique No. 3".

1823More from Ayman Nour: "We look forward to the transition period which is a period that will take us to a civilian state that will meet our legitimate demands of having a civilian free country. I believe the army is aware of its mission in preserving the situation until we move to the civilian period. This is not a coup d'etat. This is an attempt to meet the people demands which is a civilian state."

1821Ayman Nour, the leader of the Ghad Party who came a distant second to Mr Mubarak in the 2005 presidential election and was jailed afterwards, says this is "the greatest day in the history of Egypt". He tells al-Jazeera TV: "This nation has been born again. These people have been born again, and this is a new Egypt."

1820The BBC's Katie Connolly in Washington says: "The White House briefing room is buzzing today, both for Press Secretary Robert Gibbs's final briefing and because reporters from across the globe are vying to get any hint of a reaction on Mubarak's resignation. There are certainly more foreign accents here today than usual. Mr Obama will speak shortly, but it has just been announced that he will speak from the grand foyer and only a small pool of reporters will have access."

1818 Activist Gigi Ibrahim tweets: "I can't stop crying. I've never been more proud in my life."
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1816 CNN's Frederik Pleitgen tweets: "The cheering has not stopped since the announcement was made. I believe it will not stop for days."
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1816 BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet tweets: ""Long live Egypt!" shout crowds Qasr Nil, surrounded by historic monuments. Modern history being written in ancient land. #jan25"
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1815 Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who has had a prominent role in the protests, tweets: "A call to all well-educated Egyptians around the world. Come back ASAP to build our nation."
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1814Augustus Richard Norton, a Middle East specialist at Boston University, wrote recently: "Don't think for a minute that Tantawi and his subordinates will embrace a government that does not protect its interests." He noted that retired senior officers are present in nearly every ministry and agency in Egypt.

1813Another US cable from 2008 reported that disgruntled mid-level Egyptian officers referred to Field Marshal Tantawi as "Mubarak's poodle". His leadership was also criticised, with Cairo embassy officials saying that under him "the tactical and operational readiness of the Egyptian armed forces has decayed".

1811But the US diplomatic cables also reveal that American diplomats find Field Marshal Tantawi "aged and change-resistant". "Charming and courtly, he is nonetheless mired in a post-Camp David military paradigm that has served his cohort's narrow interests for the last three decades," said one cable in 2008, referring to Israel's peace agreement with Egypt. He had "opposed both economic and political reform that he perceives as eroding central government power", it added.

1809More on Field Marshal Tantawi, now understood to be running the country. US officials see him as an ally "committed to avoiding another war" with Israel, according to diplomatic cables published by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

1806From the BBC's Paul Danahar in central Cairo: "Fireworks are going off, soldiers are being carried on the shoulders of protestors. Flags are waving. Tahrir Square is having Egypt's biggest party for decades. It's an amazing scene."

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1805Maged Salib from Cairo writes: "I hoped for a peaceful transition of power, so I am worried about this move. This is what the people want, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's good for them. Now we must get from the army an exact declaration of what they will do. The only legal authority now is from the parliament members. If the army says that they will dissolve our parliament then we will have no constitution, no government and no vice-president." Have Your Say

1803From US Republican Senator John McCain: "I applaud President Mubarak's decision to step down. This was obviously a very difficult decision for President Mubarak, but it is the right decision for Egypt."

1800 The Washington Post tweets: "#Mubarak resignation creates vacuum for US in Mideast http://wapo.st/ggRMLh #Egypt"
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1759Selma, a protester in Tahrir Square, tells the BBC World Service: "Everyone is hoping that Hosni Mubarak will be brought to court for the crimes committed against protestors over the past week."

1758The head of the new high military council, Field Marshal Tantawi, has greeted crowds outside the presidential palace, according to AFP.

1757AFP also reporting that the Swiss government has ordered a freeze on the assets of Hosni Mubarak and his entourage (see 1719 entry).

1755 Cairo correspondent for the Guardian Jack Shenker tweets: "Crowds march past pres palace en route to #Tahrir, pointing to the street and chanting 'Here, here, the Egyptians are here'"
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1753Asked about the military - including Defence Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi - now being in charge, Mohamed ElBaradei tells the BBC: "I think it is not going to just be Tantawi, but the whole military leadership. I also understand that they are going to reach out to all sections of Egyptian society. I hope it will want to share power with civilians through the transitional period. I hope we will have a presidential council, a government of national unity and have enough time - perhaps a year - to prepare for genuine and free elections."


1751German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Egypt to respect its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. She said that developments should be "irreversible and peaceful".

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1744Tweeted reaction has arrived from another technology-savvy foreign minister Sweden's Carl Bildt: "Let's hope this is the beginning of a new renaissance for Egypt and the Arab world!"

1743More from David Cameron: "What has happened today should only be the first step. Those who now run Egypt have a duty to reflect the wishes of the Egyptian people. In particular, there really must be a move to civilian and democratic rule."

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1742 Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has tweeted his reaction to the news from Egypt: "Congratulations to the Egyptian people. And we hope that a system meeting the expectations of the Egyptian people will emerge."

1741Thanks for following this dramatic moment in Egypt with the BBC. Stay with us for continued updates and reaction to Hosni Mubarak's resignation late into the night.

1739UK Prime Minister David Cameron says: "Today has been a remarkable day, particularly for those in Tahrir Square and elsewhere, who have spoken out so bravely and so peacefully for change in their country. Egypt now has a really precious moment of opportunity to have a government that can bring the people together. We stand ready to help in any way that we can. We believe it must be a government that starts to put in place the building blocks of a truly open, free and democratic society."

1737Fireworks exploding now over Cairo's Tahrir Square.

1736The opposition Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, has hailed President Mubarak's resignation and "thanked the army, which kept its promises", according to the AFP news agency.

1733The Lebanese Shia Islamist movement, Hezbollah, has congratulated the Egyptian people on their "historic victory". The AFP news agency reports that many people are honking their car horns and setting off fireworks in the capital, Beirut.

1732More words of caution from Fawaz Gerges of the LSE: "Yes, Mubarak is out but the political structure remains in place, the economic structure remains in place, the Mubarak regime remains deeply entrenched in place. You have Vice-President Omar Suleiman, the military commanders, the prime minister, the defence minister. Yes, it's a giant step, it's a major, major watershed for Egypt and Egyptians - Mubarak has been in power for 30 years - but the reality is the challenges have just begun."

1730Professor Fawaz Gerges, a professor at the London School of Economics, tells BBC 5Live that stability in Egypt is still a long way off. "They should be concerned about what's going to happen in the next four to eight months, not just 48 hours," he says.

1727John Simpson adds: "There was a historical echo to that. In 1952 many of the senior officers preferred the monarchy, while the younger ones - including a young colonel called Gamal Abdul Nasser - favoured a successful coup against the old system. What has happened today is that the old Nasserite system - a vaguely Socialist military dictatorship heavily dependent on an unpleasant secret police - has collapsed. The military will continue to run Egypt for the moment, but only until presidential elections are held in September if not before. After that, it is impossible to say, but there cannot be a return to what Egypt has experienced until today."


1726The BBC's world affairs editor, John Simpson, in Cairo says: "For 18 days, the stubbornness of one elderly man has been pitted against the will of millions here. The Egyptian army found itself in the middle, unwilling until the very end to force President Mubarak out, yet deeply hostile to any suggestion that the soldiers should remove the protesters from Tahrir Square by force. It is still too soon to know for certain what forced Mr Mubarak to step down, but it seems a reasonable assumption that the army leadership could see the hairline cracks appearing amongst their own officer corps. The generals were inclined to side with the president - one of their own - and the more junior officers sympathised with the demonstrators."

1725Samir Radwan, who was recently appointed Egypt's finance minister, tells the BBC World Service: "Hosni Mubarak will never leave Egypt, he will die in Egypt. It is his right."

1724From the BBC's Paul Danahar in Cairo: "The atmosphere in Tahrir Square is electric. One man told me he couldn't believe they'd won. But the big question is, what will winning look like when they wake up tomorrow? The importance of this event cannot be understated but neither can its possible impact on the wider Middle East."

1722Joe Biden calls Mr Mubarak's departure a pivotal moment in history.

1721US Vice-President Joe Biden says what has happened in Egypt will be felt beyond its borders, notes role of social media in demonstrations.

1719Swiss foreign ministry says government freezing potential Mubarak assets in Switzerland, Reuters reports.

1717More reaction from Mohamed ElBaradei: "Well I can't even to begin to describe my reaction. It's a joy, exhilaration, total emancipation for 85 million people. For the first time Egypt has been liberated and has put its feet on the right track to towards a country of democracy and social justice."

1715 Menna Amr, in Egypt, tweets: "The best part? He stepped down on the day dedicated to the martyrs. Their lives were not lost in vain. 11/2/2011 #jan25 #victory"
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1714Egyptian Arab League head Amr Moussa welcomes what he calls a "white revolution", according to Reuters. "I look forward to the future to build a national consensus in the coming period," he says.

1711Reuters quotes an unnamed Israeli official as expressing hope that Mr Mubarak's resignation won't change peaceful relations between Egypt and Israel.

1709 Channel 4 News' Jon Snow tweets: "Ecstacy on Tahrir square..central Cairo awash with 100,000's rejoicing: no resistance:the army so far soft, relaxed promising free elections"
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1708German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Mr Mubarak's exit as a "historic change", AFP reports.

1706Egypt's leading newspaper, al-Ahram has published a special issue hailing what it terms "the 25 January Revolution".

1705Field Marshal Tantawi also visited Tahrir Square on 4 Feburary in the midst of the protests.

1703Some more details on Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, reported to be heading the Higher Military Council. Born in 1931; Promoted to general and made minister of defence and head of the armed forces in 1991; Appointed deputy-prime minister on 29 January, 2011, amid efforts to appease the protesters.

1656 Shady Samir tweets: "Wikipedia article on #Mubarak already edited saying he WAS the president of Egypt! #jan25"
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1655AFP reports reaction from Iran: Egyptians achieved "great victory".

1654Qatari government statement carried by Reuters: "This is a positive, important step towards the Egyptian people's aspirations of achieving democracy and reform and a life of dignity."

1653US President Barack Obama due to make a statement at 1830 GMT, the White House says.

1652Al-Arabiya reports that the Higher Military Council will sack the cabinet, suspend both houses of parliament and rule with the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the country's highest judicial body. A statement is expected later on Friday.

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1651 Raafat tweets: "I never kissed so many people in my life #egypt #jan25"

1650The BBC's Hamada Abu Qammar reports that many Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been firing their guns into the air in celebration at the resignation of Mr Mubarak. The Islamist group Hamas, which control Gaza, has already proclaimed the announcement as the "beginning of the victory of the Egyptian Revolution".

1649A military source tells the Reuters news agency that Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the defence minister and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, is the head of the Higher Military Council that has taken control in Egypt.

1645The BBC's Lyse Doucet reports from midst of a jubilant crowd in Tahrir Square: "There are people here who have stood here for 18 days and have literally made history in their own country."

1644Another leading opposition figure, Mohamed ElBaradei, tells the Associated Press: "This is the greatest day of my life." The Nobel laureate says Egypt has been "liberated after decades of repression" and that he expects a "beautiful" transition of power.

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1643 Egyptian protest figurehead Wael Ghonim tweets: "The real hero is the young Egyptians in Tahrir square and the rest of Egypt"

1642Former Egyptian army General Samah Seif El Yazal tells the BBC: "There are two directions the Higher Military Council can go. The first is to ask the existing government to run the country for a transitional period of perhaps a year. The other option is for the military to run the country by committee. We are very anxious to hear from them about what they intend to do."

1641More from EU foreign affairs chief Baroness Ashton: "It is important now that the dialogue is accelerated leading to a broad-based government which will respect the aspirations of, and deliver stability for, the Egyptian people. The future of Egypt rightly remains in the hands of the Egyptian people."

1640Another key catalyst for events in Egypt was the ouster of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January in the "Jasmine Revolution".

1638Khaled Said is the young man who was dragged out of an internet café and beaten to death by the police last year. Many say that Egypt's protest movement began to build significantly from that moment.

1636 Habib Haddad tweets: "Khaled Said, you sir are our hero, you are Egypt's youth! #Egypt"
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1635Sherif El Husseiny, a 33-year-old lawyer protesting in Tahrir Square, tells the Reuters news agency: "I can't believe I'm going to see another president in my lifetime! I was born during (Anwar) Sadat's time, but was only four when he died. I'm overwhelmed with the news of Mubarak stepping down. Nothing can ever stop the Egyptian people anymore. It's a new era for Egypt."

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1634 The BBC's Lyse Doucet in Cairo tweets: "The streets leading to Tahrir r packed with people..and palpable joy..#jan25 #egypt"

1631In his statement, Vice-President Suleiman did not say whether he would remain in his post while the military runs the nation's affairs. The long-time intelligence chief was promoted on 29 January in an effort to mollify the anti-government protesters.

1629President Obama was "informed of President Mubarak's decision to step down during a meeting in the Oval Office", a White House spokesman says. "He then watched TV coverage of the scene in Cairo for several minutes in the outer Oval (office)."

1629The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo: "It's as if the country has been liberated, everyone hooting their horns and waving flags."

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1627 Riyaad Minty tweets: "History."

1626US President Barack Obama will make a televised statement about Mr Mubarak's resignation later on Friday, the White House says.

1625EU foreign policy chief Baroness Catherine Ashton says the EU stands ready to help Egypt, Reuters reports.

1624More from Jon Leyne: "Around Cairo, drivers are honking their horns in celebration and guns are being fired into the air. The huge crowds are rejoicing. However, the army takeover looks very much like a coup. The constitution has been breached. Officially, the speaker of parliament should be taking over. Instead it is the army leadership. Egypt moves into a very uncertain future."

1623The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says: "The announcement took everyone by surprise and caused immediate and riotous celebration in Tahrir Square."

1619According to article 84 of the Egyptian constitution, if the president steps down, the speaker of the People's Assembly shall temporarily assume the presidency. Secondly, a new president shall be chosen within a maximum period of 60 days from the date of the vacancy of the presidential office. It is not clear if this will apply if the Higher Military Council is in charge of the nation's affairs.

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1617 The BBC's Tim Whewell in Cairo tweets: "#Egypt Crowds can't believe it. Victory signs everywhere. Carnival has broken out."

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1614 Arabzy tweets: "I cannot believe this. Someone pinch me. #Jan25 #Egypt"

1613One of the protesters in Tahrir Square, Gigi Ibrahim, tells the BBC: "We did it. I cannot believe it. Mubarak the dictator has gone. And the Egyptian people will forever be free. We are so proud. Everyone is so happy. We've suffered for years and finally the dictator is gone. We will remember this day forever."

1612Full statement from Vice-President Suleiman: "In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country. May God help everybody."

1611It's taken 18 days of mass demonstrations. Mr Mubarak gave three televised statements in which he offered some concessions, but the protesters refused to be appeased.

1608This is the moment the protesters have been waiting for. Mr Mubarak is stepping down after 30 years as Egypt's head of state.

1607State TV says Mr Mubarak has handed over responsibility for running the nation's affairs to the Higher Military Council.

1606Tahrir Square has erupted - pictures show cheering crowds waving flags in the dark.

1604The vice-president made a very brief televised statement. He said Mr Mubarak was stepping down for the benefit of the republic.

1603Vice-President Suleiman: Hosni Mubarak stepping down as president of Egypt.

1558 Zain Zeitgeist tweets: "I wasn't very hopeful last night, but tonight I am! I can smell victory, Insha Allah. Keep up the pressure! They will crumble! #Jan25 #egypt"
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1551Paul Danahar has also been testing the atmosphere at other protest sites: "Tahrir has the feel of a carnival but at the TV station the atmosphere is much more like a demonstration. It's much closer to the mood in Tahrir Square a week ago when it was mainly angry young men," he says.

1549The BBC's Paul Danahar sends this from Cairo: "Thousands of people are chanting outside the parliament: 'This corrupt government must go.' What's interesting is the lack of security on the main gate. This crowd is big enough to scale the gates and break in if they wanted, but they are being trusted."

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1542 The BBC's Tim Whewell in Cairo tweets: "#Egypt Traffic congested at the palace. A sea of flags and protesters."

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1541The editor of the New Yorker, David Remnick, has posted his reflections on Mr Mubarak's speech yesterday. The Egyptian president "used every means of rhetorical deflection to delay his inevitable end," he writes.

1540Amid the unfolding drama in Egypt and the proliferation of tweeting, live blogging and 24-hour news coverage, the New York Times has an interesting take on the new media reality , from Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel: "Because of technology, and because of the progress made in technology, especially in the field of communication, no one has any excuse anymore to say: 'I don't know; I didn't know; I wasn't aware."'

1526BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the senior ranks of the military will have a real dilemma about how to react to the continuing protests. He also notes that there are thousands of people across Egypt whose careers and livelihoods depend on the president, and it's likely that there are people advising him that he can tough it out.

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1523 Another tweet from the BBC's Tim Whewell in Cairo: "Huge crowds on the flyovers. No stones or petrol bombs. What a difference to the fear of last week".

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1522 The BBC's Tim Whewell in Cairo tweets: "Surrounded by protestors near Tahrir, all chanting "Not enough". They still want the president to go. On my way to presidential palace"

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1513More on the helicopters and the presidential palace: Wael Khairy tweets: "Two helicoters departed from the presidential palace. Crowd erupts with loud chants: "LEAVE! LEAVE LEAVE!" #Egypt"

1511Mr Badrawi was one of the senior officials who suggested on Thursday that Mr Mubarak was about to stand down, only to be proved wrong later in the day.

1508In an interview with BBC Arabic, NDP Secretary General Hossam Badrawi says: "I will announce my resignation in the coming hours."

1504Reuters are also now reporting violence in Sinai town of El Arish after about 1,000 protesters attacked a police station, burning vehicles and throwing petrol bombs.

1502Following those reports that Mr Mubarak has left Cairo, Reuters cites witnesses saying that at least two helicopters have taken off from the presidential palace.

1458AFP reports exchanges of gunfire between police and hundreds of protesters in the north Sinai town of El Arish. The report cites witnesses as saying several people were injured.

1457A protester in Tahrir Square tells the BBC's Lyse Doucet: "Neither the president or vice-president know how to send an SMS. They don't use e-mail. They speak a different language from us."

1453Lakhdar Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister and senior UN envoy, tells the BBC that what's happening in Egypt and the region will change people's attitudes to the "non-existent" Middle East peace process, a problem he says has been "neglected" for too long.

1452Omar Ashour, a Middle East specialist at the University of Exeter, tells the BBC World Service: "If you compare President Mubarak to King Farouk [the penultimate King of Egypt], King Farouk looks like a Mother Theresa type. But even King Farouk didn't leave until the army chief told him to go. Mubarak is much worse, and he has the tendency to create a violent situation as we saw in the last few days. So without a push from the army I don't think he will be leaving on his own."

1441Professor Maged Boutros, a senior member of the ruling NDP party, has told the BBC World Service that President Mubarak is "like a figurehead now. He has delegated all power to his vice-president."

1438The BBC's Frank Gardner on Mr Mubarak's reported departure from the capital: "Key question: On what basis? As a staging post before leaving Egypt altogether or waiting to return to Cairo in the hope protesters disperse?"

1432"Important" statement from the presidency expected shortly, state TV reports.

1431Many different sources now concur that Mr Mubarak has gone to Sharm el-Sheikh.

1428Google executive and prominent opposition figure Wael Ghonim has given Al Arabiya a response to today's army statement. "Owing to the lack of trust between the people and the current regime, we demand from [the army], as a national institution that is respected and appreciated by Egyptians, to be the guarantor of popular demands. With clarity of vision, clear details and a set timetable. First of all [you must] guarantee the seriousness of the honorary stepping down of President Mubarak for good, for good, for good."

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1414 The BBC's Lyse Doucet in Cairo tweets: "Tahrir flags, hats, wigs, key chains...as protest grows, so does memorabilia machine #jan25 #egypt"

1355The BBC's Magdi Abdelhadi says: "If President Mubarak has gone to Sharm el-Sheikh today it's probably an attempt to calm down, to defuse the situation in Cairo, but I don't think that will cut much ice with the protestors. The people in the streets want him out of the country or stepping down formally."

1350The BBC's Andrew Steele says: "In Tahrir Square, the water distribution and rubbish collection are working better than is normally the case in many parts of Cairo."

1348The Tunisian Hend Sabry, star of the Yacoubian Building and Cairo resident, tells the BBC World Service her husband is demonstrating in Tahrir Square today but public opinion is split. "More and more people in the streets of Cairo are now saying that 'this is enough, we achieved a lot, and we now should move on with our lives'. Time is on the side of the pro-stability camp. And I think that this is what the decision makers are playing on."

1343BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says all indications are that Mr Mubarak has gone to his seaside palace at Sharm el-Sheikh. This would be a face-saving exit - far from the Cairo crowds but still in Egypt.

1331Sources tell BBC Arabic that Hosni Mubarak is in Sharm el-Sheikh.

1329The BBC's Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi says the protesters need to tread a fine line if they are not to lose the support of many Egyptians. If the reforms already offered are seen through they can - in theory - lead to a change in the political system, he says. But the protesters do not trust the regime and are currently obsessed about bringing down Hosni Mubarak, he adds.

1327An interesting observation from Nadia El-Awady outside the presidential palace . She tweets: "Not a single chant at pres palace. Posh upper middle class tires easily. We NEED tahrir lot here!"

1318More reports coming in suggesting Mr Mubarak has left Cairo. The AFP news agency now quotes a source "close to the government" as saying he has left the city with his family.

1314Egyptian political analyst Khaled Islamboil tells the BBC that in his opinion, the concessions announced by Hosni Mubarak on Thursday render him little more than a constitutional ruler, more like the British monarch than a president with absolute power.

1311The BBC's Jon Leyne urges caution about reports that Hosni Mubarak has left Cairo, bearing in mind that many Western observers and intelligence agencies were wrong-footed by the president on Thursday.

1307 Reuters are reporting a statement from the Muslim Brotherhood, who remain critical of Mr Mubarak's statement last night. "It's just more deceptive words to stop the people's demands," the Brotherhood says.

1301No more details at present of where Mr Mubarak might have gone, but he does have a residence in Sharm el-Sheikh.

1258Senior Western official tells the BBC Hosni Mubarak has left Cairo.

1256BBC security correspondent notes that the uprising on the streets of Egypt is not Islamic in nature, and reiterates that it is driven by the "Facebook and Twitter generation".

1252No pictures from outside state TV at the moment, but several eyewitness tweets suggest the crowd is now several thousand-strong.

1247Intrigue now surrounds the whereabouts of President Mubarak. Two separate reports - one from Israeli TV and one from Arab TV network al-Arabiya - say Mr Mubarak has now left Cairo. The Israeli report, from Channel 10, says he has gone to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he has a villa.

1244Also in Cairo is the BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson. He says the crowd, although fired up, don't seem prepared at this stage to use violence. It's not clear how the army would react if protesters did attack the state TV building, for example.

1236Some sign of movement on the streets of Cairo. Mostafa Hussein tweets: "Thousands marching now in Ramses st. In the direction of the palace. #egypt #jan25"
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1235In Alexandria, the BBC's Paul Adams says there are thousands of protesters in the street of the northern port city, although "nothing like the scale of the protests in Cairo". There are checkpoints on the way into the city and the army is monitoring what is going on. But otherwise the military presence is "light", Paul Adams says.

1233Strong words from the prime minister of Denmark, who has called explicitly for Hosni Mubarak to step down, the Associated Press reports. "Mubarak is history, Mubarak must step down," Lars Loekke Rasmussen said in Copenhagen.

1227 Amr Hamzawy, one of a group of "wise men" that has been mediating between the protesters and the government, tells the BBC that it's the military that is calling the shots even though Mr Mubarak is still there. He says some of the protesters' demands, such as the delegation of powers to the vice-president, have been met. But others, such as the formation of a cabinet of technocrats, are still pending.

1219The BBC's Fergus Nicoll is outside the state TV building. He says that since the end of Friday prayers people there have been "extremely vocal and they are shouting their hostility at the Mubarak regime directly at its main mouthpiece".

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1216 Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei has now tweeted: "Entire nation is on the streets. Only way out is for regime to go. People power can't be crushed. We shall prevail. Still hope army can join."

1214The BBC's Steve Kingstone in Washington says that if the situation deteriorates and the Egyptian army was to fire on protesters, there would be huge pressure on the Obama administration and Congress to cut off US military aid.

1207But Salah al-Shalby, also from Alexandria, has a contrasting view: "The revolution of the youth is good and it has brought good results but it is enough now. People's lives have come to a standstill, they are unable to work."

1205A reaction from Alexandria resident Ahmed Abdel Mohsen to the promises from the government and the army: "We refuse this. Nobody will agree to this and this protest goes on - this revolution goes on. It's not a protest, it is a revolution, until the regime falls."

1158Protesters outside the presidential palace have been chanting: "Down, down with Hosni Mubarak", and "No to Mubarak and Suleiman - they are American agents."

1157Background to that tweet from Arwa Mahmoud. Protesters have been checking people entering Tahrir Sqaure to guard against infiltration from pro-Mubarak groups. He's now concerned that is not happening outside the palace.

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1156The atmosphere is not so good elsewhere, apparently. Arwa Mahmoud tweets from outside the presidential palace: "Protesters in presidential palace are very vulnerable to thug attacks. Hardly any filtering. This is dangerous. #jan25 #egypt"

1151Music, drumming and whistling clearly audible from the crowd in Tahrir Square. There seems to be a good atmosphere among the protesters.

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1149Sarah in Sharm el-Sheikh is clearly not a supporter of Hosni Mubarak: "The police presence around Sharm airport is increasing, also around the entrance to the road which leads to Mubarak's villa. I so hope he is not coming here. Has he not done enough damage already. When will he get the message. He needs to go - NOW!"

1144To start us off, Samar Samy in Mansoura says: "I am a medical student in Mansoura and my college is a organising a massive march from the university to the centre of town where the protests are. They are all going to wear white coats to show that even doctors - considered the elite of the community - are anti-Mubarak. Me and my whole family are going to the protests now. We are angry at Mubarak's speech. He once again gave us a list of empty promises."
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1143 With much of the focus on Cairo, it's easy to forget that there have been protests in towns and cities across Egypt. We're receiving some emails from outside Cairo and will publish what we can as they come in.

1134We're at what could be a crucial phase of the day. Tahrir Square is packed to rafters. But what happens next?

1129Whatever Mr Mubarak says or does, protesters believe there will only be a real transition once Egypt's constitution is changed. The BBC website has just published an at-a-glance guide to the key articles of the constitution under discussion.

1123In Cairo, Professor Abdallah Al-Ashal has told the BBC that the Egyptian army is "in a big mess". It doesn't want to be embarrassed, and some senior officers are very dismayed, he says. He adds that President Mubarak doesn't seem to be accepting comment or hints from anyone close to him.

1112James Zogby, President of the Washington-based Arab American Institute says the protests are notable for their "humour" and "lightness". He tells the BBC World Service that "there is a seriousness of intention, but there is also an ability to rise above the tension."

1111TV pictures from Alexandria now show Friday prayers under way there, with massed ranks of people filling a main boulevard in the city.

1109The BBC's Christian Fraser says the protesters in Tahrir Square have turned up the volume following the end of Friday prayers. The imam leading the prayers called for the protesters to stand united and for the army to stand by the people. Flag-waving protesters are now chanting that Mubarak must go, he says.

1107Flags are being waved, and the square appears to be almost entirely filled with people. An al-Jazeera reporter in Cairo says she can see no empty spaces from her vantage point.

1106Prayers now appear to have ended in Tahrir Square and the assembled crowd is now chanting loud anti-Mubarak slogans.

1104A German government spokesman says what President Mubarak promised was "not enough", Reuters reports. "These developments remain hopeful, but also of course give us considerable worry whether the protests remain peaceful," spokesman Steffen Seibert says.

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1103 Blogger Arwa Mahmoud tweets: "Chants at presidential palace: Mubarak you want to stay? You'll stay over 80 million bodies. #jan25 #egypt."

1102More from Magdi Abdelhadi: Many of those in power have promised free elections in the past, promises that have never been fulfilled. The protesters feel that staying on the street is the only way to ensure a genuine transition.

1100BBC Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi reports from Cairo that there's little confidence that the army or the government will deliver on the president's promises. Most of the cabinet appointed by Mubarak was made up of old loyalists and the army leadership itself is handpicked by the president, he says.

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1056There are of course protests going on outside Cairo. In the second city, Alexandria, Nada Ramadan tweets: "Alexandria gaining momentum every second in Qua'ed Ibrahim (mosque)."


1051Prayers reaching a climax now in Tahrir Square, with cries of "Allahu akbar" - God is great - clearly audible.

1047Impressive scenes in Tahrir Square - Friday prayers have begun and thousands of people bow down, answering a muezzin's call with a responsive echo.

1046Mr Hague echoed the observations of many at the events of last night, remarking that the long build-up to Mr Mubarak's speech had indeed raised hopes of a more dramatic announcement.

1043UK Foreign Secretary William Hague tells the BBC it is not yet clear what powers Hosni Mubarak has transferred to his vice-president, and says the Egyptian authorities are now in a "very difficult position".

1038It will be interesting today to see how many people peel off from Tahrir Square to head for the state TV building or presidential palace. Will a multi-pronged protest prove more powerful, or could the force of the demonstrations be diluted?

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1037 CNN's Ben Wedeman tweets: "One of Cairo's sharpest says keep close eye on Army officers joining protesters: "tired, tense and worried about shedding blood" #Egypt"

1035Maha Azzam, Associate Fellow of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at the London think-tank Chatham House says the latest statement by the army "is not going to placate" the protesters. "It's too vague, it's not precise, it's not saying the emergency law is lifted now".

Ms Azzam says the upper echelons of the army "have separated themselves from Mr Mubarak in terms of him as a personality. But they are part and parcel of the regime. We are talking about a military that has gained from the regime, that was the backbone of the regime and now wants to sideline Mubarak. But that doesn't mean that it wants to hand over everything to a civilian government and take a backstage role."

1031
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Nadia El-Awady tweets: "numbers not very large at pres palace. I hope more come after prayer #egypt #jan25"

1030Protester Gigi Ibrahim in Tahrir Square tells the BBC World Service that protesters are "more determined than ever" following Mr Mubarak's speech last night. She says demonstrators are not worried about losing their salaries as a consequence of the protests, because "people have been suffering economically for years. Now it's about dignity and wanting to be treated as a human being."

1026Journalist Shahira Amin, deputy editor of state-run Nile TV until she resigned last week, is outside her old office in Cairo and tells the BBC World Service that about 1,000 protesters have gathered there. "People aren't allowed into the building or out," she says. There are no signs that the demonstrators intend to storm the building. "They are very, very angry, but so far there has been self-restraint and control."

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1025For those wanting to catch up on the subtle trends in the US position on Egypt the BBC's North Americas editor Mark Mardell has a new blog entry: "President Obama is running out of patience with the Egyptian government," he writes.

1023Free and fair elections, promised by the army statement, would be something of a new development for Egypt. Hosni Mubarak won three elections unopposed after 1981, and just one in which he faced rival candidates. Recent parliamentary elections were heavily criticised.

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1018 Cairo correspondent for The Wall Street Journal Matt Bradley tweets: "It seems if there was a rupture between the military and the president last night, it is now closed. #jan25"

1010This promise to repeal the state of emergency is a major concession - though it is not immediate. First, the army is calling for a return to normal life.

1004Emergency powers have been in place in Egypt since 1981 - the year Hosni Mubarak came to power. Critics have long lobbied for its repeal, saying it is one of the main causes of human rights violations. Mr Mubarak repeatedly promised to replace it, but never did so.

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0955 Blogger and activist Sandmonkey tweets: "The army just neutralised itself. They won't remove the president, but will ensure that the people's demands will be met #jan25."

0955The military statement says the armed forces will protect the implementation of promised reforms including free and fair presidential elections. It calls the demands of the protesters "legitimate" and says it will not pursue those who have rejected corruption and called for reform.

0950Military statement from Egypt's armed forces: Egyptian army announces that it will lift the state of emergency when the current situation ends.

0948And in the left-leaning daily Haaretz, Avi Issacharoff suggests that Mr Mubarak had "in effect vacated his position" already: "It is doubtful if at this point it is possible to predict even a fraction of the implications of this incredible event in Middle East history," he writes. "One thing that is abundantly clear: Egypt will never be the same without him."

0942In Israel's biggest-selling daily, Yediot Aharonot, Eitan Haber described Mr Mubarak as "an angel of peace" for Israel. Last night "the curtain started to fall on the man who was considered a stern dictator in the eyes of his people, who led millions of people to nowhere."

0940In Israel, newspaper commentators watched events in Egypt on Thursday with one eye on their own security. Some interpreted Mr Mubarak's speech last night as an effective abdication of power, and write about Egypt this morning as if Mr Mubarak had already stepped down. Others are thankful that Vice-President Omar Suleiman, long seen as a friend of Israel, remains very much centre-stage.

0929Despite the vocal anger against Hosni Mubarak, he undoubtedly retains the respect of many Egyptians. One of those, Ahmed K Ashour in Cairo, says: "The protesters are now abusing their rights. President Mubarak has given to all their demands and despite all his mistakes, he still has achievements and deserves an honourable exit from power. We are the winners or losers depending on the outcome of current events."
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0925 Sally Sami tweets: "In #Tahrir with the people of #Egypt. If they were to kill us today I would die next to my brothers and sisters. I have no regrets. #jan25"

0925A string of reports from Tahrir Square are remarking on the sheer size of the crowd gathering there this morning.

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0920 The Guardian's Cairo reporter Jack Senker tweets: "People of #Egypt are approaching #Tahrir from every direction: Cairo's roar will shake the world today".

0914Finance Minister Samir Radwan says the core demand of the protesters is for jobs. But while unemployment and other economic grievances have helped fuel these protests, the BBC's Jon Leyne notes that the protests in Tahrir Square are overtly political - they want the president to go and real democracy to be established.

0911Under one hour to prayers now. For the last two Fridays people have poured out of the mosques to protest - while those in Tahrir Square have prayed in the open. The BBC's Jon Leyne says that there are already many more people out on the streets than we've seen previously at the same time of day.

0907 Blogger and activist Sandmonkey, writing in the Rantings of a Sandmonkey blog, outlines what last night's events mean for Egypt: "Mubarak is not going to leave office without bloodshed. Any attempt for a peaceful exit has been discarded by his regime, and they are intending to fight the will of the people until the end."
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0905More from NDP party member Abdel Monem Said Aly: "Mr Mubarak has no power at the moment and a process of reform is under implementation. Almost every demand of the revolution has been met."

0903Abdel Monem Said Aly, a member of Egypt's ruling NDP party, tells the BBC World Service: "One demand of the revolution was for the president to delegate his powers to his vice-president. Unfortunately he did it one week later, when the demands have risen to new heights."

0902Finance Minister Samir Radwan says he's worried about Egypt's economy. "The longer this stalemate continues, the more damaging it is," he says. He adds that he has a package to help protesters: "As of next week I am launching a national employment scheme, which doesn't take people for fools."

0900More from Egypt's newly appointed Finance Minister Samir Radwan. He tells the BBC World Service that Mr Mubarak "perceives that he has gone as far as he could, he's given more or less all his powers to the vice-president and the prime minister".

0848The BBC's head of global news, Peter Horrocks, has made a statement on the jamming of BBC Persian TV: "This jamming should stop immediately. The events in Egypt are being viewed by the entire world and it is wrong that our significant Iranian audience is being denied impartial news and information from BBC Persian TV... The BBC will not stop covering Egypt and it will continue to broadcast to the Iranian people."

0847The unrest in Egypt is having an effect elsewhere. The BBC has confirmed this morning that its Persian TV service is being jammed from within Iran following its extensive coverage of the political unrest in Egypt.

0845Egyptian army officer tells Reuters that 15 other mid-ranking officers have "joined the people's revolution".

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0840 Egyptian blogger Arwa Mahmoud has tweeted his take on the upcoming military announcement: "Second military statement expected in a while. Expectations are that it will oust Mubarak. #Egypt #jan25 #tahrir"

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0838 Al-Jazeera TV reporter Rawya Rageh tweets: "Presenter on #Egypt state TV just apologised to viewers for lack of guests saying 'no one able to enter or leave the building #Jan25 #Tahrir"

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0835 Photographer and journalist Matthew Cassel tweets: "Tahrir 10AM, people still sleeping after demonstrating all night, lots more on their way"

0833In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has his own take on current events. The AFP news agency reports him as saying the Middle East will soon be free of the United States and Israel.

0829Egyptian Finance Minister Samir Radwan tells the BBC's Today programme: "The military has so far responded in an excellent way. The nightmare of a coup is very bad for everybody". He says he hoped Mr Mubarak's speech would "calm things down… obviously it hasn't".

0827In Jerusalem, the BBC's Kevin Connolly says there's a palpable sense of relief that Mr Mubarak is staying. The feeling there is that if Mr Mubarak were to go Egypt would become an engine of uncertainty for Israel and the Middle East.

0818Reuters news agency is reporting that a small group of protesters are at the presidential palace chanting "Down, down Hosni Mubarak". The army is not trying to remove them, the report says.

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0817 Writer and journalist Ian Lee tweets from Cairo: "The mood in Tahrir this morning is tense. Protesters are angry and frustrated. #egypt #jan25"

0814More from the army: "The Supreme Council for the Armed Forces, presided over by Defence Minister Hussein Tantawi, has held an important meeting this morning." Other reports say the army is continuing to meet in "permanent session", as it was on Thursday.

0806TV pictures from Cairo show crowds already building in Tahrir Square. It's hard to judge numbers, but the square is already busy - and filling up by the minute.

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0759 Shadi Hamid, Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center , tweets: "Right by presidential palace now. Hearing that soldiers warned protesters they were from presidential guard & had orders to shoot #jan25"

0757An editorial in the Times of London pulls no punches this morning: "President Mubarak has pulled every trick in the dictatorship playbook. Insisting that he would not be pushed out by voices from abroad, as he did last night, was a last resort and a tried and tested stunt."

0755Mr ElBaradei, a former head of the UN's nuclear watchdog, has emerged as perhaps the most prominent opponent to Mr Mubarak. But the broad-based protest movement has not been led by any established political party or leader. Another figure to opposition figure whose star has been rising is the Google executive Wael Ghonim, who ran a popular protest page on Facebook and was detained, then released, by Egyptian authorities.

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0748Elsewhere on the web many are already tweeting in anticipation of a crucial day in this ongoing crisis. Mosa'ab Elshamy tweets: "Today is the third Friday of our revolution. The first was bloody, second was festive and third should be decisive. #Jan25"

0745Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei - who has become an opposition figurehead in recent weeks - has written an opinion piece in Friday's New York Times . "Egypt will not wait forever on this caricature of a leader we witnessed on television yesterday evening, deaf to the voice of the people, hanging on obsessively to power that is no longer his to keep," he writes.

0736First news of the day from Egypt - the military is to make an "important statement to the people", according to Egyptian state news agency Mena.

0733Justin Webb says yesterday's events in Egypt were hugely embarrassing for President Barack Obama. Before Mr Mubarak spoke, Mr Obama had made his own remarks about Egypt. He seemed euphoric and and spoke about "history unfolding".

0731The White House says the Egyptian government has yet to propose a "credible, concrete and unequivocal" path to democracy. Yet Mr Mubarak's name was a glaring omission in a lengthy US statement, the BBC's Justin Webb reports from Washington. The White House is coming down clearly on the side of the protesters, he says, but still can't bring itself to tell Mr Mubarak to go.

0721 The BBC's Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi is also in Cairo. His take on events: in the televised speech he made last night Mr Mubarak was trying to split Egyptians, by drawing a line between those in Tahrir Square and other Egyptians who he hopes will be prepared to put up with him for another six months in order to avoid further unrest.

0717More from Jon Leyne: It appears that Mr Mubarak changed his mind at some stage yesterday, after various senior Egyptian figures had suggested he would be stepping down. Those reports had raised the hopes of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square to fever pitch. The army had been meeting in open council and then nothing more was heard. The military's reaction today will be critical once again, with questions about whether junior officers will obey orders if they're told to use force.

0714A smallish crowd was reported to have made their way to the presidential palace overnight. The palace is some 15km away from central Cairo, where the protests have been focussed - something our correspondent Jon Leyne says could work in the president's favour, since it gives the military time to prepare any defences. But he adds that the sheer number of protesters gathering could swing the momentum in their favour once more.

0713 It's expected that the headquarters of state TV and the presidential palace could become targets of today's demonstrations. The BBC's Jon Leyne reports from Cairo that this would put the demonstrators in direct confrontation with the army. He says this is the most dangerous moment so far in this crisis.



0705 Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of events in Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak last night defied expectations by insisting he will not step down until September, despite more than two weeks of mass protests calling for his immediate resignation. Friday seems certain to see more large-scale rallies as angry demonstrators vent their frustration with the president. Stay with us for the latest updates - reports from our correspondents on the ground, expert analysis, and your reaction from around the world. You can contact us via email, text or twitter. We'll publish what we can.



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