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Celebrations in Tahrir Square ahead of Mubarak's expected departure

posted 10 Feb 2011, 12:31 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 10 Feb 2011, 12:34 ]

Crowds at Tahrir Square celebrate the news of Mubarak' s likely departure.

CAIRO, EGYPT (FEBRUARY 10, 2011) REUTERS - Cairo's Tahrir Square was festive on Thursday (February 10) evening, with songs, prayer, dances, and women ululating in the crowd as protesters awaited the expected departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak after 30 years in office.

Mubarak looked likely to step down on Thursday after the military high command took control of the nation in what some called a military coup after two weeks of unprecedented protests.

The armed forces, issuing what they labelled "Communique No.1", announced they were moving to preserve the nation and the aspirations of the people. The Higher Army Council met to try to calm an earthquake of unrest which has shocked the Middle East.

News that the 82-year-old Mubarak may hand over power, or be unseated, in this key American ally in the Middle East provoked loud and emotional cheers in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the focal point for pro-democracy demonstrations. But some in the crowd were quick to protest they did not want military rule.

Egypt's Information Minister Anas el Fekky told Reuters "the president is definitely not going to step down", shortly before Mubarak's address to the nation was to be broadcast.