Mubarak to step down, amid protest of millions

09:33, Feb 02 2011
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Anti-government protesters stand next to a defaced picture of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak.
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Protesters clash with riot police in downtown Cairo.
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Egyptian demonstrators pray in central Cairo.
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Egyptian demonstrators protest in central Cairo.
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Egyptian demonstrators clash with Egyptian police in central Cairo.
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Anti-government protesters demonstrate at Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo.
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Anti-government protesters take part in a demonstration in downtown Cairo.
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Anti-government protesters clash with police in downtown Cairo.
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Riot police take up positions during clashes with anti-government protesters in downtown Cairo.
DEMANDING CHANGE: Egyptian demonstrators protest to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and calling for reforms.
Egyptian demonstrators protest to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and calling for reforms.
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Egyptian plainclothes policemen arrest an anti-government protester during clashes in Cairo.
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Riot police keep watch as they hold shields during clashes with protesters in Cairo.
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A protester runs in front of burning tyres placed to form a barricade during clashes with riot police in Cairo.
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A riot policeman walks past burning tyres placed to form a barricade during clashes with protesters in Cairo.
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A riot policeman holds his face after being injured during clashes with anti-government protesters in downtown Cairo.
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A riot policeman jumps over the rear of a car near anti-government protesters in downtown Cairo.
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Egyptian riot police clash with anti-government activists in Cairo.
Egyptian demonstrators shout slogans next to a burning riot police vehicle in Cairo.
Egyptian demonstrators shout slogans next to a burning riot police vehicle in Cairo.
Thousands of protestors gather in Tahrir Square, Cairo, despite a curfew.
Thousands of protestors gather in Tahrir Square, Cairo, despite a curfew.
An Egyptian demonstrator throws a fuel bomb at anti-riot police vehicles in the northern city of Suez.
An Egyptian demonstrator throws a fuel bomb at anti-riot police vehicles in the northern city of Suez.
A protester reaches out as a soldier holds a child during a demonstration in Cairo.
A protester reaches out as a soldier holds a child during a demonstration in Cairo.
A man pumps a fist during a protest in Cairo.
A man pumps a fist during a protest in Cairo.
A protester reacts during demonstrations in Cairo.
A protester reacts during demonstrations in Cairo.
Egyptian protesters hold an Egyptian flag with a slogan reading in Arabic, 'Mubarak go away'.
Egyptian protesters hold an Egyptian flag with a slogan reading in Arabic, 'Mubarak go away'.
Demonstrators celebrate atop an army tank in Tahrir square during protests in Cairo.
Demonstrators celebrate atop an army tank in Tahrir square during protests in Cairo.
People demonstrate in support of the Egyptian people's protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak in front of the Egyptian consulate in Chicago.
People demonstrate in support of the Egyptian people's protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak in front of the Egyptian consulate in Chicago.
Shortly before the start of a 4pm curfew, at least two jets appeared and made multiple passes over downtown Cairo.
Shortly before the start of a 4pm curfew, at least two jets appeared and made multiple passes over downtown Cairo.
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An Egyptian mother hugs her child as she watches thousands of Egyptian protesters gather at Tahrir square in Cairo.
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An Egyptian anti-government activist kisses a riot police officer following clashes in Cairo, Egypt.
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Egyptian Nobel Peace laureate and democracy advocate Mohamed ElBaradei arrives to address the crowd at Tahrir Square in Cairo.
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An Egyptian army soldier tries to stop anti-government protesters as they walk towards Tahrir Square in Cairo.
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An unidentified high ranked military official, center, and a police officer explain to the crowd that army, police and the citizens must work hand in hand, in Cairo.
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Police officers direct the traffic in Cairo.
A protester sleeps at Tahrir Square in Cairo. The banners read "people decide for themselves" and "down with the head of the gang".
A protester sleeps at Tahrir Square in Cairo. The banners read "people decide for themselves" and "down with the head of the gang".
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A protester stands in front of a burning barricade during a demonstration in Cairo.
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A protestor with an eye bandage saying 'Go Mubarak' in Arabic stands in Tahrir Square, Cairo.
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An Egyptian army Captain identified as Ihab Fathi holds the national flag while being carried by demonstrators during a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
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An anti-government protester holds a banner in French reading, "The army must choose: Egypt or Mubarak", at the continuing demonstration in Tahrir square in downtown Cairo.
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An Egytpian demonstrator waves his flag from atop of a traffic light post in central Tahrir Square in Cairo.
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An Egyptian police officer fires tear gas at demonstrators in Cairo.
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An Egyptian demonstrator confronts riot police during demonstrations in Cairo.
Protesters chant anti-government slogans as they demonstrate in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Protesters chant anti-government slogans as they demonstrate in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
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At least one million Egyptians took to the streets on Tuesday in scenes never before seen in the Arab nation's modern history.
Egyptian demonstrators hold up a placard in Cairo as massive tides of protesters flooded the Egyptian capital's central Tahrir Square.
Egyptian demonstrators hold up a placard in Cairo as massive tides of protesters flooded the Egyptian capital's central Tahrir Square.
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Protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
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Anti-government protestors wave their shoes, in a gesture of anger, after President Hosni Mubarak announces that he will not seek re-election.
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Anti-government protestors in Cairo's Tahrir Square continue to defy the curfew as they listen to a radio as President Hosni Mubarak announces that he will not seek re-election.
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Anti-government protestors in Cairo's Tahrir Square continue to defy the curfew to watch as President Hosni Mubarak announces that he will not seek re-election.
The two sides faced off at a front line next to the famed Egyptian Museum at the edge of central Tahrir Square.
The two sides faced off at a front line next to the famed Egyptian Museum at the edge of central Tahrir Square.
Thousands of supporters and opponents of President Hosni Mubarak battled in Cairo's main square.
Thousands of supporters and opponents of President Hosni Mubarak battled in Cairo's main square.
Entire rooftoops of several buildings were covered with fighters.
Entire rooftoops of several buildings were covered with fighters.
Government backers galloped in on horses and camels.
Government backers galloped in on horses and camels.
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An injured demonstrator has blood wiped off his face during clashes between pro and anti-Mubarak supporters clash at Tahrir Square in Cairo.
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Pro and anti-Mubarak supporters clash during rioting at Tahrir Square in Cairo
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Pro-government demonstrators, below, some riding camels and horses and armed with sticks, clash with anti-government demonstrators, above, who pull one off his white horse and beat him, in Tahrir square, Cairo.
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Anti-government demonstrators pray during clashes with supporters of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
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An anti-government demonstrator, wounded during clashes with pro-government protesters, gestures while waiting to be treated at a makeshift medical triage station.
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Pro-government protesters clash with anti-government protesters outside the National Museum near Tahrir square in Cairo.
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Pro-government protesters clash with anti-government protesters outside the National Museum near Tahrir square.
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Local vigilantes patrol a makeshift roadblock on a main seaside road as midnight approaches in Alexandria.
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Anti-government demonstrators carry an injured man at a makeshift medical triage station at Tahrir square.
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Egyptian anti government protesters throw stones during clashes in downtown Cairo.
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Foreign journalists and Egyptian anti-government demonstrators take cover behind makeshift shields during clashes with pro-regime opponents (not seen) at Cairo's Tahrir Square.
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An anti-government protester chants and gestures in Tahrir Square, Cairo.
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Anti-government protesters sit and lie inside the tracks of an Egyptian Army tank, both to prevent them from moving and to shield themselves from the rain, at the protest site opposite the Egyptian Museum near Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo.
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Anti-government protesters sit down in front of Egyptian Army tanks to prevent them from moving, as one climbs on the tank to chant and fly the Egyptian flag before being ordered down by a soldier, at the protest site opposite the Egyptian Museum near Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo.
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Egyptians pray in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
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A protester leads fellow anti-government demonstrators in chants against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir Square.
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A wounded Egyptian anti-government protestor holds a poster reading in Arabic "I want to be martyr" while sitting on a battered truck serving as a barricade in Cairo’s Tahrir square.
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Left, an effigy of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak hangs in a traffic intersection in Tahrir Square while anti-government protesters gather in the same square, right.
An anti-government protester shouts in front of the Egyptian Parliament building as protests against the Government entered a 16th day.
An anti-government protester shouts in front of the Egyptian Parliament building as protests against the Government entered a 16th day.
Anti-government protesters mill around an Egyptian army tank in Tahrir Square. More than two weeks into Egypt's uprising, demonstrators continue to occupy the square, demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
Anti-government protesters mill around an Egyptian army tank in Tahrir Square. More than two weeks into Egypt's uprising, demonstrators continue to occupy the square, demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
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Opposition supporters shout in their stronghold of Tahrir Square, in Cairo February 10, 2011.
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Anti-government protesters celebrate in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo.
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Egyptian anti-government demonstrators perform the evening prayers in front of Armoured Personnel Carriers as tens of thousands gather at Cairo's Tahrir Square.
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A general view shows the crowded Tahrir Square in Cairo.
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Opposition supporters flash the victory sign after a senior army general addressed the crowd inside Tahrir Square in Cairo.
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An opposition supporter with a flag painted on her face is seen in Tahrir Square in Cairo.
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Two Egyptian men celebrate after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military at Tahrir square, in Cairo.
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WE WON: An Egyptian reacts after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military in Cairo, Egypt.
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Egyptians celebrate as they carry an army soldier in Tahrir Square after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military in Cairo,
Egyptians celebrate
Egyptians celebrate in Tahrir Square after President Hosni Mubarak resigned and handed power to the military in Cairo, Egypt.
SHOW OF FORCE:Anti-government protesters sit on the ground in front of armed soldiers as the army attempts to clear Tahrir Square in Cairo.
SHOW OF FORCE:Anti-government protesters sit on the ground in front of armed soldiers as the army attempts to clear Tahrir Square in Cairo.
Egyptian soldiers remove the few remaining barricades in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
Egyptian soldiers remove the few remaining barricades in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Crowds were building in Cairo's Tahrir square for a ninth day of protests to try to force Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak from office with one clear message: "We will not go, he will go."

The chant pulsed from speakers set up on the edge of the square as protesters began to regroup for the day unpersuaded by Mubarak saying in a nationwide broadcast late on Tuesday (local time) that he would not stand for a sixth term of office.

The core of protesters will have to convince the broader public to keep up the momentum in pushing for Mubarak to go in a country where many Egyptians have been shocked by the convulsions on their normally quiet street.

At least 1500 people were in the central square, which has become a focal point for the protests and drew hundreds of thousands on Tuesday. Many had camped in tents and under blankets, determined to stay until Mubarak goes.

Banners measuring some 20 metres long read: "The people demand the fall of the regime."

Many shops remained closed in downtown, but some customers said on Tuesday that several ATMs they tried were working and giving out cash as normal.

Many Egyptians live hand to month and have felt the strain as protests demanding Mubarak step down have spread across the country, disrupting services ranging from food supplies to cash machines.

Although SMS messaging was still patchy, mass circulation messages were landing. One which arrived on Wednesday said: "The armed forces are concerned with your security and wellbeing and will not resort to the use of force against these great people."

It was reiterating the army stance announced on Monday that they would not use violence against protesters.

REGIONAL INSTABILITY

Mubarak's departure would reconfigure the politics of the Middle East, with implications from Israel to oil giant Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah of Jordan replaced his prime minister on Tuesday after protests. Yemen and Sudan have also seen unrest.

Just four weeks to the day since the death of Mohammed Bouazizi, the Tunisian who set himself on fire to protest at oppression and corruption, the wave of anger he set in motion has gathered strength across the region. Some liken it to the fall of communism in eastern Europe in 1989.

Just a week ago, few Arabs could conceive of the Egyptians, better known for good humour and forbearance than for political energy, rising up to unseat a man who has ruled unchallenged for 30 years. Last week, Mubarak seemed certain of a sixth term, or of handing over to his son.

Unrest is stirring in other Arab countries like Jordan and Yemen, sending oil prices higher on fears of trouble in Saudi Arabia and on Egypt's Suez Canal.

Continued turmoil in Tunisia, however, is a reminder that political change is unlikely to be smooth anywhere.

ISLAMISTS


Effigies of Mubarak were hung from traffic lights. The crowds included men, women and children from all walks of life, showing the breadth of opposition to Mubarak.

The demonstration was an emphatic rejection of Mubarak's appointment of a new vice president, Omar Suleiman, a cabinet reshuffle and an offer to open a dialogue with the opposition.

The United States and other Western allies were caught out by the uprising. Washington has called for reforms and free elections but is also concerned that Islamists could gain a slice of power should Mubarak be forced out.

The prospect of a hostile neighbor on Israel's western border also worries Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kamran Bokhari at political risk consultancy Stratfor said even Mubarak's concession to step aside in due course was "huge": "It will send shockwaves across the region. It's not that I would necessarily say there's going to be a domino effect, but I think we will see an increase in protest and governments will certainly be worried. It is a tectonic shift.

"I don't think it will be enough for the protesters ... Then the most likely scenario would be the military would have to force Mubarak out ... Then you would have elections. It's quite possible the Muslim Brotherhood would perform well, but the military will also want to have a role."

At least 140 people have died since demonstrations began last Tuesday. Al Arabiya said the interior minister sacked last week was going to be prosecuted by the military.

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Reuters