Hosni Mubarak stepped down as president of Egypt on Friday after 30 years of rule, handing power to the army and bowing to relentless pressure from a popular uprising after his military support evaporated.
Vice President Omar Suleiman said a military council would run the affairs of the Arab world's most populous nation. A free and fair presidential election has been promised for September after a momentous 18 days that rocked Egypt.
A speaker made the announcement in Cairo's central Tahrir Square where hundreds of thousands broke down in tears, celebrated and hugged each other chanting: "The people have brought down the regime."
Others shouted: "Allahu Akbar (God is greatest). Sobbing women in Tahrir (Liberation) Square ululated in jubilation.
"This is the greatest day of my life," said opposition activist and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, welcoming a period of sharing of power between the army and the people. He told Reuters that running for president was not on his mind.
The 82-year-old Mubarak's downfall after unprecedented mass protests was an historic victory for people power and was sure to rock autocrats throughout the Arab world and beyond. (Continues here)