“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,” he said.
Thousands of protesters are now celebrating in Cairo and Alexandria as soldiers look on.
BBC’s John Leyne reports: “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.”
Egyptian defense minister, field marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi heads the military council, a military source tells Reuters. The military will suspend upper and lower house of Egypt’s parliament.