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As it happened: Egypt's new era

Man in Tahrir Square

Egypt is beginning a new political era, the day after President Hosni Mubarak stood down after almost 30 years in power.

  • Huge numbers of Egyptians celebrated through Friday night into Saturday, in Cairo and elsewhere.
  • Egypt's military is now in control of the country, but world leaders have called for a swift transition to civilian rule.
  • The military has pledged to respect all its treaties, including the 1979 peace accord with Israel.
  • Live page reporters: Adam Blenford and Alix Kroeger
  • All times in GMT.

1800 That's all for the BBC's minute-by-minute coverage of events in Egypt for now. Thanks for following developments with us. Do keep checking the BBC news website for the latest on how Egypt adapts to life after Hosni Mubarak.

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1757 The last word for Saturday in the BBC's live coverage of Egypt should go to the veteran of another liberation struggle: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He's now a member of the Elders, a group of global leaders who offer their advice on the challenges of our time. The Elders tweet: "'Brothers and sisters of #Egypt, you have given the world the most precious gift: the belief that ultimately right will prevail.' Desmond Tutu"

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1746 All that cleaning in Tahrir Square seems to be paying off. Abdulrahman Hassan tweets: "I am not exaggerating when I say the asphalt in #tahrir is SQUEAKY CLEAN! Smells of disinfectant too! http://yfrog.com/h4aneqfj"

1736 Meanwhile, the ripples from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia continue to spread. On Saturday, a young Moroccan man who had set himself alight died of his injuries. Mourad Raho, 26, was in despair after being dismissed from the army. An Algerian man who set himself on fire succumbed to his injuries on Friday. There has been a wave of self-immolations in Arab countries, following the death of Mohammed Bouazizi, the vegetable seller whose death kickstarted the uprising in Tunisia, which in turn galvanised protesters in Egypt.

1718 More now on the travel bans imposed on Mubarak-era officials (see 1622 entry). Egyptian state TV confirms the ban on former information minister Anas el-Fekky, and says former interior minister Habib al-Adli and former prime minister Ahmed Nazif are also forbidden from leaving the country. State TV says accusations against all three ministers are being investigated.

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1701 Nearly 24 hours on from President Mubarak's resignation, it seems many in Cairo are still celebrating. Journalist Ethar El-Katatney tweets: "Fireworks in front of the burnt down NDP [Mr Mubarak's party] headquarters".

1657 More reaction from Israel to that announcement from Egypt's military that it will respect the 1979 peace accord with Israel, along with other treaties. A statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says: "The longstanding peace treaty between Israel and Egypt has greatly contributed to both countries and is the cornerstone for peace and stability in the entire Middle East."

1648 Should the credit for the Egyptian revolution go to George W Bush? Many in the Arab world and beyond would disagree vehemently, but that's the argument from a growing number of US conservatives. The New York Times has this round-up of the most salient comments.

1634 Mosa'ab Elshamy tweets: "I find myself tearing up every time footage of the past 18 days is shown. Can't help it. Still overwhelmed by what we've achieved.#Jan25"
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1635 The Muslim Brotherhood say they will not put up a presidential candidate at the next election. "The Muslim Brotherhood... are not seeking personal gains, so they announce they will not run for the presidency and will not seek to get a majority in the parliament and that they consider themselves servants of these decent people," the Brotherhood said, according to the Reuters news agency. The BBC's Yolande Knell, in Cairo, says this is a restatement of their previous position. The Brotherhood are very wary of how they are seen in the West, our correspondent adds.

1626 A number of protest groups say they are forming a coalition to negotiate with the military authorities now in charge of Egypt and make sure democratic reforms are implemented. "The purpose of the Council of Trustees is to hold dialogue with the Higher Military Council and to carry the revolution forward through the transitional phase," Khaled Abdel Qader is quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.


1622 For former officials in the Mubarak government, their status has changed with dizzying speed. Only last month, information minister Anis el-Fekky was a power in the land. Now, he's under house arrest, Reuters reports. Earlier on Saturday, Mr el-Fekky was prevented from leaving Cairo on a flight to London, says AP. However, his bags travelled without him.

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1606 Despite the jubilation, there's no doubt that nearly three weeks of protests have damaged Egypt's economy, including the important tourism sector. Journalist Heba Elkayal tweets: Egyptian tweeps let's get #come2Egypt trending by telling the world what you love about #Egypt. I'll start: great beaches! RT please :)

1551 Israel has welcomed the statement from the Egyptian military that it will respect all previous treaties, including the landmark 1979 Egypt-Israeli peace accord. "This is a good announcement... Peace is not only in the interest of Israel but also of Egypt. I am very happy with this announcement," Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel's Channel 2 television, Reuters reports.

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1542 Firas Atraqchi tweets: "Arab people competing to see how fast they can overturn tyranny, #egypt holds record @ 18 days #jan25 #cairo yallah Algeria!"

1527 Human rights pressure group Amnesty International had billed Saturday as a global day of action in support of protesters in Egypt, with rallies around the world. In the event, it turned into more of a celebration. At the London rally, Amnesty secretary general Salil Shetty told the BBC Egypt had passed a point of no return - for the better: "It's not just about political or civil rights; people also have to have the right to employment, the right to adequate housing. But I think the youth, the women and the half of Cairo's population that lives in slums - they're not going to keep quiet. They're going to raise their voice and there's no going back."

1510 There's still a great deal of uncertainty about what form of government will eventually emerge. Veteran pro-democracy campaigner and newspaper publisher Hisham Kassem is hopeful. He tells the BBC: "The idea that another dictator will happen in Egypt is out of the question. Mubarak came to power in 1981 during the Cold War, Soviet Union - pre the internet, pre satellite and pre 25 January. The rules have changed completely in Egypt after January 25. People pushed out an incumbent dictator that had been there for the last 30 years. Whoever comes next has to deal with this new reality."

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1454 Yehia Hassaan in Alexandria tweets: "I just saw a young boy enter a tank with the permission of soldiers! Amazing."


1448 In Tahrir Square, the clean-up continues. Have a look at this picture gallery published by the BBC news website.

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1437 The role played by social media in the Egypt protests has been endlessly debated. Blogger Linda Herrera, writing on the Jadaliyya blog of the Arab Studies Institute has had enough: "Facebook is no more responsible for Egypt's revolution than Gutenberg's printing press with movable type was responsible for the Protestant Reformation in the fifteenth century. But it is valid to say that neither the Reformation nor the pro-democracy rights' movements sweeping Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, and much of the region would have come about at this juncture without these new tools."

1426 It isn't just Israel which has been closely monitoring events. A few days ago, the Times newspaper reported that Saudi Arabia had offered to step in if Washington withdrew its aid to Egypt. But now the Saudis are adapting to the new order. "The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia welcomes the peaceful transition of power in the Arab Republic of Egypt, and expresses hope in the efforts of the Egyptian armed forces to restore peace, stability and tranquility," the Saudi news agency says.

1400 Journalist Sharif Kouddous in Cairo tweets: "People debating whether to leave Tahrir following military announcement that Mubarak cabinet staying in place."
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1406 Blogger Nora Shalaby tweets: "Have to say, not so happy with army's statement. Are they keeping the old government in place?"
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1403What next for ex-President Hosni Mubarak, believed to be in Sharm el-Sheikh? Middle East expert Adel Darwish tells the BBC: "There is no history of ex-presidents in Africa or in the Middle East. People turned 180 degrees against him. I think actually President Mubarak would have a chance: he did a lot for his country. He was the head of the air force... Instead of going away with people's curses, he can set a precedent. He can be the first ex-president. Maybe he can stand for the upper house, like the House of Lords. Maybe he can write a book and let people benefit from his wisdom. Egyptian people are tolerant: they are not vengeful people. We are not going to go after him and seek to do to him what they did to Saddam Hussein in Iraq."

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1346 US-based Egyptian blogger Mona El-Tahawy tweets: "To friends planning revolutions: unshakeable faith in ourselves is what fueled #Tunisia #Egypt. Yes you can too! #Jan25 #Sidibouzid"


1339 We're now getting full quotes from the latest army statement. "The Arab Republic of Egypt is committed to all regional and international obligations and treaties," a military spokesman said. That includes Egypt's 1979 peace accord with Israel.

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1321 Mosa'ab Elshamy tweets: "Our army is certainly gaining points with every communique they issue. Promising times ahead."

1319 Blogger Sandmonkey has welcomed the military statement on this tweet: "The supreme military council has made its 4th announcement. And it was good."
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1314Egypt military statement: current temporary government to remain in place until new government is formed.

1320Egypt military statement confirms peace treaty with Israel remains in force.

1312Egypt military statement: Egypt is committed to all national and international agreements

1311 Egypt's military is making a statement live on state TV.

1308 There's not a huge suggestion of any major disruption in Tahrir Square. Troops ran into the square but there is little evidence of any anger.

1304CNN shows images of a disturbance in Tahrir Square, appearing to show troops running into the square and people pushing and shoving. It's not clear what is causing the commotion.

1258The BBC's Jon Leyne, in Cairo, says the military authority has indeed issued a travel ban on current and former government officials.

1251PhD student Ahmed Ibrahim tells the BBC's Fergus Nicholl in Tahrir Square that a deal must be struck with Egypt's army: "We have the revolution and they have the power. There must be a compromise solution between us. I don't think they will give us all the democracy we want but this will come step-by-step."

1249Confirmation now that the stock exchange will re-open on Wednesday, which is three days later than managers had hoped for. The excachnge has been closed since 28 January, three days after protests began in Cairo.

1242Snippets of information coming out of Egypt today as we wait for a statement from the military about the way forward. The latest, via the AFP news agency, suggests that the country's stock exchange could re-open on Wednesday.

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1222 Nadia El-Awady tweets: "Special salute to fellow revolutionaries in Suez, Alexandria, New Valley, Sinai and everywhere else Egyptians stood for their rights."


1211Word now coming in from Alexandria, Egypt's second city: The BBC's Paul Adams says life is getting back to normal there, with people at the beach and in the cafes. However, he adds, there are certainly concerns among some Egyptians: concern about who will follow Mr Mubarak, what will be the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, and worries about the army taking over.

1207A Jordanian citizen, Amir, downplays suggestions of an Egypt-style revolt in Jordan, telling the BBC that he does not believe there is a movement for fundamental change in Jordan.

1205More from Paul Danahar: "A couple of weeks ago the square stank of riot gas, now it reeks of disinfectant."

1156The BBC's Paul Danahar sends more from the square: "The clean up operation in Tahrir Square is going on at a furious pace. There is now a mountain of neatly stacked garbage bags around the square. A dozen teenage girls are rebuilding the pavement broken up for ammunition during the pitched battles."

1152AFP has an interesting insight on the choices facing the Tahrir Square protesters. Essam Shabana told the news agency: "There are different camps. Some people are saying we should stay. Some are saying we have done our jobs, we should go home. Some are saying we can go, but if anything happens we can come back again. We are forming a Facebook group to keep in touch, and we'll certainly be coming back and meeting here every year on January 25."

1144Current or ex-government officials have been banned from travelling out of Cairo airport, AP reports airport officials as saying.

1138Tom Porteous of Human Right Watch tells the BBC in Cairo that there is much to do in Egypt to rebuild civil society and the rule of law: "The judiciary will have to play a very important role, the public prosecutor's office will have to play an important role looking into the violence of the last few weeks but also the terrible abuses of the past, so we can get some sort of investigations going and get accountability for the past. Because it's only if you have accountability for the past that you're going to end the sort of impunity that leads to this cycle of abuse and violence. So there's a lot to do."

1129Mr Darwish adds that he is "very, very worried" about the role of the army in post-Mubarak Egypt. "If I was the protesters I would stay in Tahrir Square until I get guarantees from the army," he says.

1125Middle East expert Adel Darwish tells the BBC that Israel is "wise" to keep quiet about events in Egypt. Protests were not aimed at Israel, at its embassy in Cairo or at its policy towards the Palestinians, he points out.

1125The curfew that remains in place in Egypt is shortened to midnight to 0600, reports say.

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1120Writing in Foreign Policy, former US state department adviser Aaron David Miller asks the question "Who lost Egypt?" and suggests an answer: "Not Obama for sure".

1115The focus of the media is still firmly on Tahrir Square, but it appears to be the same for Egyptians. Pictures now show very large crowds indeed gathered in the wide streets around the traffic roundabout.

1112More evidence of the good cheer in Tahrir Square today - people appear to be playing a game of football in the midst of the crowds. Much celebration, this time when a goal is scored, not a president toppled.

1055There's a sense of humour among those still in Tahrir Square this morning. According to AP some are wearing placards bearing the slogan: "Sorry for the inconvenience, but we're building Egypt."

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1047Another tweet, this one from Hossam in Cairo : "You gotta understand that whether Tahrir Square occupation continues or not, the real fight is now in the factories."

1034 Tarek Shalaby in Cairo tweets: "Here's the deal: I'll stay in Tahrir until the army issues a statement with concrete steps. Then I'll go home."
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1037Egyptians are starting to think about the consequences of Mubarak's departure. Mohamed Hamoud in Cairo writes: " I can proudly say that when Mubarak announced his departure I was in Tahrir Square and my kids and I had a chance to celebrate there. The ball is now in the court of the Egyptian citizens, we have no excuse but to work hard and take this opportunity to make Egypt a much more better place."

1031More from Paul Danahar: "This is the first revolution I've covered where the people cleaned up after themselves. Perhaps the mark of a people who spawned one of the worlds oldest and greatest civilisations."

1030The BBC's Paul Danahar is observing the clean-up in Tahrir Square: "The infrastructure of the revolution is being quickly dismantled," he says. "The angry young men who led this revolution seemed to have been replaced by their mums who are now cleaning up the mess."

1023One line from Moscow this morning: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev "hopes democratic procedures in Egypt will be fully restored and all legitimate electoral procedures will be used," the Itar-Tass agency reports.

1021More from around the Middle East: Our correspondent Jon Donnison in Jerusalem notes that the Israeli government has ordered a blanket ban on commenting on the events in Egypt - but the expectation is that whichever government emerges in Egypt will uphold the existing peace treaty with Israel.

1015BBC correspondents in the Middle East are looking at reaction around the region in the wake of the fall of Hosni Mubarak. In Algeria, Chloe Arnold says security forces are out in force in an effort to quell any popular rebellion arising from protests there.

1008More from Jon Leyne: Although many Egyptians are saying in public and on camera that they trust the army to keep its promises, some are more candid when the camera is turned off - with one saying yesterday he was actually afraid of the army and what it might do.

1007The BBC's Jon Leyne, in Cairo, says the military are still in place, especially around the state TV building. They've clearly had no signal to move on so they are staying put at them moment, he says.

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0958Want to know what connected the thousands tweeting about the Egyptian uprising? Canadian Globe and Mail journalist Doug Saunders tweets a link to an "Extraordinary map of the Twitter English-Arabic Twitter cross-influences of #jan25"

0950And some reaction from the Egyptian media, reported by the Associated Press: "The Revolution of the Youths forced Mubarak to leave", carries a front-page headline in the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper. Al-Gomhuria, another state-owned newspaper, declares: "The Jan 25 Revolution won. Mubarak steps out and the army rules".

0934Germany's Der Spiegel has taken a look at the career of Hosni Mubarak, described as the West's "favourite tyrant". "The West stood by the leader almost to the end, despite the fact that the despot had turned his country into a police state and plundered its economy," the newspaper writes. "The assassination attempts that Mubarak survived over the years showed just how hated the despot was." But his support for peace with Israel damaged his standing, it adds. "All across the Arab world, some still continued to disparage Mubarak as a 'Zionist' or 'lackey of the West' right up to his resignation."

0920Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador Israel and now with the Brookings Institution think-tank, says leaders in other Arab countries will now be on their guard: "Arab autocrats are going to have to get on the side of reform and if they want to stabilise their rule in the wake of what's happened in Egypt they're going to have to take political reform more seriously. I think we're beginning to see that in Yemen and in Jordan and that would be a good thing in terms of ensuring not instability but greater legitimacy for the leaders there."

0907More from William Hague: "I have expressed my fears this week that instability in the Middle East could complicate and make still more difficult the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. And that underlines the urgency now of driving that forward, of taking that forward, of asking Israelis and Palestinians to make the necessary compromises because that will only get more difficult over time."

0906UK Foreign Secretary William Hague tells the BBC that the UK should not be afraid of change in the Middle East but of upheaval and instability in the region.

0904Egypt's Suez Canal is open for shipping and working normally, Reuters reports an official as saying.

0902An al-Jazeera reporter at Tahrir Square says people are still arriving at the square and describes a party atmosphere among the crowds.

0856One of those anxious to see how things turn out is student Sara Hawas. She told the BBC that Egyptians would give the military the chance to fulfil their pledges. "But you know in the coming days we'll see what transpires, how effective they are and how quickly they move to welcome opposition leaders from across the spectrum and anyone who really wants to be part of an interim government, until there are free and fair elections."

0850Tahrir Square is remarkably clean today, BBC radio producer Helena Merriman informs us. Groups of volunteer cleaners are sweeping up the detritus of the past few days, tents are coming down and blankets are being piled up. Some, though, say they will stay until they are sure that all the changes they want are realised.

0842More support for the transitional authority in Egypt, this time from Bahrain, Reuters reports, where the main pro-government newspaper printed a statement from the government.

0836
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0800Many Egyptians have been retweeting a comment by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho: "The world only gets better because people risk something to make it better. Congrats Egypt."

0834As the world digests the news from Egypt, you can find expert analysis here on the BBC. Why not start with Roger Hardy, Middle East analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center, who has written for us on the outlook for the region after the fall of Mubarak?

0821News from Yemen, where there have also been protests in recent weeks: the country's official news agency, Saba, says the government there supports the new reality in Egypt and is confident the military can manage a transition, according to a Reuters report.

0813 Muhammad Nusair in Cairo tweets: "My first morning without Mubarak will be off to Tahrir again soon to clean it, already miss it."
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0802There is even optimism in Israel, which has watched the removal of its main regional ally with a cautious eye. Writing for the country's top-selling newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, Nechama Duek says the prospect of Arab democracy should be good for Israel . "After our neighbours get used to living under democracy, it would finally become possible to speak a common language with them. After all, democracy is the rule of the people, and when the people engage in conversation with their neighbors, they will decide in favour of the broad interest, that is, in favour of peace."

0753News organisations around the world are digesting the events in Egypt, with many lauding the ouster of Hosni Mubarak while urging caution and vigilance over the role of the military. The New York Times' take on Friday's events is typical. The newspaper calls it a "stunning accomplishment for the country's courageous youth-led opposition", but issues a warning: "The whole country must now turn to the arduous work of building a new democratic order to replace the old authoritarian one."

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0745The Google executive and prominent internet activist Wael Ghonim suggests on Twitter that Saturday might remain a day of rest for many: "Dear Egyptians, go back to your work on Sunday, work like never before and help Egypt become a developed country."

0740While Egypt celebrates, the eyes of many are turning to rest of the Arab world. Today large-scale protests are planned in Algeria , a country ruled under a state of emergency since 1992.

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0737The day has begun with a tweet from Sandmonkey , who has blogged and tweeted his way through the protests: "Good morning Egypt! Today you are free! :) #jan25"

0734Also in Tahrir Square is Fergus Nicholl of the BBC World Service. He describes a definite sense of the morning after the night before. The square is beginning to look a bit more like what it is, he observes - a road junction. The big question is how long will the hard-line activists stay in the square once those who came for the thrill of the protest have left?

0729More evidence that normality is returning to Tahrir Square: Egypt's military has begun taking down metal barricades in place in the square, the AFP news agency reports

0724In Tahrir Square, the BBC's Cairo correspondent Jon Leyne says there is a sense that some things are returning to normal: more people are returning to work, for example.

0715With the president gone, Egypt is now run by the country's military high command. Many Egyptians seem calm about this - they trust the army - but there is uncertainty over what it means in practice. Is it too early for Egypt to celebrate?

0710Pictures from Cairo on Saturday morning show a clear blue sky and reveal that the crowds in Tahrir Square - the centre of the protests - have thinned overnight. But the daylight also helps pick out those who are left, and those who are returning - waving flags and cheering excitedly.

0707Friday saw an explosion of joy in Egypt as thousands of people in central Cairo, downtown Alexandria, and other towns and cities, learnt that their demand for Mr Mubarak to go had been met. The 82-year-old president was toppled by a revolution that mobilised people on the web and caught the imagination of many on the street. It took 18 days and was almost entirely peaceful.

0700 Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of events in Egypt. After a truly momentous day on Friday that saw President Hosni Mubarak step down and leave Cairo, the country wakes today under military rule and with an uncertain path forward. 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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