Mubarak Resigns, 11 February 2011
On February 11, 2011 President Mubarak resigned. The National Democratic Party had governed the Arab Republic of Egypt since 1978. In 2005 President Hosni Mubarak won a fifth consecutive six-year term with 88 percent of the vote in the country's first presidential election, which was marred by low voter turnout and charges of fraud. The government's respect for human rights remained poor, and serious abuses continued in many areas. Significant human rights problems included limitations on citizens' ability to change the government; a continued state of emergency, in place almost continuously since 1967; persistent and credible reports of abuse and torture at police stations and in prisons; and police violence against protestors. The government's respect for freedoms of the press, association, and religion declined in 2008, and the government continued to restrict other civil liberties. Arbitrary arrests and detentions, poor prison conditions, pressure on the judiciary, a lack of transparency, and societal discrimination against women and religious minorities persisted.
Opposition party organizations made their views public and represent their followers at various levels in the political system, but power was concentrated in the hands of the President and the National Democratic Party majority in the People's Assembly and those institutions dominate the political system. In addition to the ruling National Democratic Party, there are 18 other legally recognized parties, whereas in 2004 there were only 16 other legally recognized parties.On 25 January 2011 Egyptian police fired tear gas and beat anti-government protesters to clear thousands of people from a central Cairo square, after the largest demonstrations in years against President Hosni Mubarak's decades-old rule. Three people were reported to have died in the nationwide unrest inspired by Tunisia's uprising. Two protesters were killed during a demonstration in the port city of Suez while a police officer died from injuries sustained during the protests in Cairo. Such a coordinated wave of anti-government protests has not been seen in Egypt since Mr. Mubarak took power in 1981 after former President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamists. Egyptians called for political and economic reforms in rallies inspired by demonstrations in Tunisia that led to the ouster of that country's president earlier this month. The unrest took place despite government warnings that demonstrators could be arrested.
Buildings burned in Cairo and tanks deployed in the streets on January 28, 2011 as anti-government protesters defied a nighttime curfew Friday evening, capping the most violent and chaotic day in Egypt since mass demonstrations began Tuesday. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak extended the curfew nationwide but it appeared from media reports to do little to halt the violence. In Washington, the White House urged "strong restraint" on the part of government and protesters. Demonstrators, believed to be in the tens of thousands, are demanding Mr. Mubarak's resignation. The Egyptian ruler ordered his Cabinet to step down and promised to appoint a new Cabinet Saturday. He also said the days of protests this week were a plot to destabilize Egypt. In Washington, President Barack Obama, in an address from the White House Friday evening, asked the Egyptian government to refrain from violence against peaceful protesters and restore Internet and communication services that have been cut off.
On February 01, 2011 Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told the nation he will not run for office in September 2011. Announcing an end to a near 30-year reign in power, he said "I have exhausted my life serving Egypt and the Egyptian people." Mubarak added he will work during the rest of his term to carry out the "necessary steps for the peaceful transfer of power." He gave no indication of leaving the country, vowing, "I will die on the soil of Egypt." Vice President Omar Suleiman rejected calls for Mr. Mubarak's immediate resignation Thursday, saying the move would be a "call to chaos." Mr. Suleiman said on state television that the president was putting together a "road map" to address the demands of protesters. The vice president also said he had begun holding talks with representatives of youth and opposition groups.
Protesters declared Friday February 04, 2011 a "day of departure" for Mr. Mubarak and mass demonstrations called for him to immediately step down, but he didn't. The peaceful protest came after rock-throwing protesters continued to defied a nighttime curfew in Cairo, where sporadic gunfire was heard on the streets. After President Hosni Mubarak pledged in a televised address to remain in office until the next election, protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square turned violent, Egyptian soldiers took positions between pro- and anti-government protesters. Mainly plain-clothed members of his security forces who are attacking civilian protesters. In an interview Thursday February 03, 2011 with ABC News correspondent Christiane Amanpour, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak blamed the Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement for the violence that has taken place in the capital over the past few days.
On February 10, 2011 the Egyptian Army announced that it was taking "necessary measures to protect the nation and support the legitimate demands of the people," a move that observers said signaled the military was now in control of the country. The statement, which was read on state television, was labeled, "Communique No. 1" -- a choice of words that suggested a military coup is under way. Egypt's military council held an emergency meeting on February 10 without Mubarak, who was the council head. Egyptian military officials and members of the ruling party say that President Hosni Mubarak will "meet protesters' demands."
On February 11, 2011 President Mubarak resigned. The announcement came from Vice-President Omar Suleiman, who announced that military forces will now take over. The announcement on state television came as hundreds of thousands of anti-government demonstrators spread out across Cairo and other Egyptian cities, after Mubarak refused their demands to resign immediately. In the end, it took just eighteen days to bring down a 30-year-old regime, but the anger that drove Egyptians into the street had been building for years. What began as a youth movement on January 25 quickly grew into a popular, leaderless uprising that expanded as the days went by.
On 13 February 2011 Egypt's military authorities said they were dissolving parliament and suspending the constitution. In a statement on state TV, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said it would stay in power for six months, or until elections. Egypt's Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi, who heads the Higher Military Council, will run the domestic affairs in the country and represent Egypt in the international arena. The council has ordered Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to stay in office until a new cabinet of ministers is formed.
A newly-appointed committee was to finish drafting constitutional amendments in 10 days and seek public approval for the new charter in a national referendum in two months. The Muslim Brotherhood had a representative on an eight-member panel of experts tasked with drawing up amendments to Egypt's constitution. The military chose a diverse group of legal experts, including a prominent Christian judge.
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