tv BBC World News PBS February 11, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
scenes right now. protesters hold their biggest party in decades. >> a very warm welcome on a tremendous day. the egyptian president has resigned after two weeks of protests against his rule. powers had been taken over by the supreme council of the armed forces. it has promised not to stand in the way. >> welcome to a country which has erupted in celebration. hours ago egyptians heard the surprise announcement their
president is now stepping down and the handing over power. it took 18 days of protest. tonight, it is beginning to write a new chapter in its history. the streets are packed with traffic. a palpable feeling of celebration. a new being born tonight. this is an historic moment not just for egypt but the entire region. our middle east editor reports. >> the announcement came
suddenly and they were taken by surprise. the news only took a few seconds to sink in. people who had been leaving after demonstrating turned around and pushed their way back in. >> it was ruthless joy. >> egypt is a free country. we control the middle east and will never be beaten by anyone. [shouting] >> and several hundred thousand people were still in tahrir square. some immediately started the evening prayer. this revelation has been supported by all kinds of
egyptians. power has been handed to the army. the military has been at the heart of the regime they hate. they want to deliver a democracy led by civilians. >> we have been here everything [unintelligible] he will read about this in books. >> they have always said who controls tahrir square controls cairo. this morning the ins joshed and was showing among protesters at the radio center -- exhaustion was showing. in new arrivals kept it going. waiting shoes has been a way of
contempt for leaders. the army had the building heavily defended. plenty of them were hoping the army would give the president a final push out of office. keep the pressure up on president mubarak and increase it. the noon prayer will start in a couple of minutes. you are in the heart of a battle now. we must change the regime that never listens. these soldiers prey along side. the protests mean to demonstrations -- in late afternoon some signs of
movement. >> there is an important announcement coming from the president. >> they gathered around the loudspeakers. it was another anti climax. they said president mubarak had left for a resort. but shortly after the vice- president made the announcement they wanted to hear. >> president mubarak has decided to step down as the president of the republic. we have interrupted the council to carry out the dealing of the country. >> 30 seconds on television
ended president mubarak's rule. egypt brutalized under president mubarak has regained its position as the leader of the arab world thanks to its people. >> the fall of the president is a moment of great historical significance. the people have taken on a brutal police state and overthrown a leader who appeared to be in control. their achievement will change the middle east. >> they are feeling good about the future but it might not be easy. now they want to change the system. tomorrow the hard work will begin.
>> at this time in cairo we are used to hearing the sounds of gunfire but all around us we hear the sounds of firecrackers exploding on a night of celebration. horns are honking and people are in the streets. we are joined here by two people who know them well. you may know this novelist. you may know him from his starring role in "the kits runner," but tonight they join us as egyptians. tell us what this means for u.s. and egyptian. >> it is like this massive weight has been lifted. it is completely true.
what was it we were passing on to our children? it has been really bad. we can build it and enjoy it. >> when it began 18 years ago would you believe it would be so quick? >> every day has been surprising. people have been so steadfast and sell uninventive. the numbers grew and yet they humor all remained. this creativity was released. you saw signs of it every day. >> if this was a movie and someone handed you this script
last year would you have said it is not possible? i don't think anyone would have handed me the script which is the amazing thing. i am an activist that came of age in the post 9/11 world and have tried to break down those stereotypes. what the egyptian people have done is broken knee simple- minded conclusions people have drawn from the events of 9/11. i am proud to be here. it has been an extraordinary two weeks. i think something has been given to the world. democracy now means something completely different. >> you are british but also each
section. tomorrow, what will be your next concerned? >> i will probably try to wresr, but i am not worried. even in response to the question you asked that day, i am surprised it took this long. i knew on friday and talked to my father immediately i knew it was finished then. i know the determination and peacefulness of the egyptian people was going to win an ounce. that proved to be true. >> they have achieved something historic. it will be a rocky road to the democracy they have been deprived of.
people are hungry for it. the crime has been whoever loves egypt, help us build egypt. however hard it is, nothing can be as hard as the 30 years we have fought through. there is an energy from being positive and working hard. that is what we have. >> he rejoined the international world as being a prominent actor? >> i don't think i ever left. one of the very special things for egyptians everywhere is suddenly there is a sense you can participate in this country. that is something the regime prevented us from doing. now there is a chance to join forces and be empowered in the
future. i am proud to be here and be each section. >> thank you very much for joining us. thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. they have been here for many of the day's and are very much for taking part in these celebrations. let's take a look at the momentous event of the day. >> he pitted himself against the will of the millions of egyptians. >> the army was right in the middle, unwilling to force president mubarak to go but wanted to clear the demonstrators out by force. why has he gone now after insisting he would not?
the americans who had been embarrassed finally summon up all their power to force the egyptian military to get rid of mr. mubarak. but military leaders realized >> were starting to appear in the army's structure. many junior officers sided with the demonstrators. there is an historical echo to this. in the 1952 revolution some senior officers supported the kaine, while younger ones backed the coup. for 60 years egypt has been a military dictatorship backed by a secret police force. finally, they have brought this system to an end.
>> they come in very unwillingly and realize they have to deliver power. this has become a crucial element of the atmosphere and the new constitution in egypt. i believe there is such a surge of positive feeling and belief in egyptians that this is a tremendous moment. >> tonight there is pleasure and a great deal of pride in what the crowds have achieved. they have endured everything that was used against them. and they did not leave tahrir square. they have really been proud of
themselves. [inaudible] >> you can call it people's power and some call it a revolution. whatever name new news -- you use, it has been is stored. for many days it was days of rage. there were also peaceful protests. tonight it is nothing but celebration. it erupted as soon as the news was announced. his longtime friend and ally was standing down. in that square he rocked it, earlier yesterday had been
warning of a protest they had never mounted before. they look at the streets of this easy mitropoulos. making history tonight. for hours, it has been choked with vehicles of in their horns and waving their flags. people taking to the streets to celebrate with friends and neighbors saying tonight is the night to be proud. this is an event being watched across the entire world. a short time ago president obama said egypt would never be the same. >> president obama has not always kept pace with a fast- moving crisis, but has thrown his moral authority behind the demonstrators.
>> the people of egypt has spoken. egypt will never be the same. by stepping down president mubarak responded to the egyptian people's hunter for change. they have made it clear nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the dead. >> what a difference a few -- carried the day. >> americans and british were worried things would turn ugly. david cameron made a clear the army must hold onto power. >> those who run egypt have a duty to reflect the wishes of the egyptian people. there must be a move to democratic rule. >> people celebrated on the
streets. there were far worse in his gaza. many are hoping for an egyptian government less friendly towards israel. >> [unintelligible] >> no celebration-televisa. many are concerned egypt is changing. >> it is not good for israel because it will create a state of uncertainty in the middle east. >>-jordan they celebrate the revelation. he rulers may be worried about obama's language. >> we cannot help but hear echoes of history, from germans tearing down a wall, ghandi
leading his people down a path of justice. >> the white house will be coping with this for many years to come. any new government is unlikely to be more pro-israeli. if there are other demonstrations they will bring with them risks of instability. >> tom joins us now. there has been some comment present obama seemed to have gotten the tone right when he responded to these events. >> they certainly have been struggling to keep pace with the events but president obama did two things in his speech. he appealed to the egyptian military calling for the end of emergency rule and a clear path
to free elections. then he moved into poetic mode sending out the historical context of events in egypt. the overall desire of the white house is that egypt moves towards a civilian-led government. it is interesting -- he said they had acted responsibly and patriotically. >> he must have sensed egypt would be measuring every word but so what many other leaders. >> that is right. the u.s. vice-president joe biden and the white house spokesman mentioned iran.
robert gibbs said the government was scared of the will of experience. the language publicly from the obama administration has been carefully guarded on the idea of some spread across the middle east. the u.s. has still had very important allies across the middle east. the obama administration is keen to stress it is following the will of the egyptian people. they are deciding what happens and not powers in washington. >> they always talk about what countries want. they will have a long-term interest in developing the partnership. they had an allied-president mubarak.
-- they had an ally in president mubarak. >> the alliance with egypt is key for people in washington. he did allude to the peace agreement between israel and the u.s. he hopes they will keep to that agreement. the importance of the statement tonight is clear. the words of our administration have been carefully chosen. >> thanks for joining us. cairo is regarded as the capital of capital is and has become under the gaze of the entire world. liberation square has truly
earned its name. i know that you have been camping out in this square. what will you do tonight? i am afraid we have lost that line. we will try to get him back. let's just take a step back and reflect on these historic developments in egypt. our security correspondent reports. >> gone the man they called the ferrel is a ruler of egypt no more. his presidency had a violent [unintelligible] here is the vice president being rushed to safety when his predecessor was assassinated.
that was in retaliation to the finding of a peace treaty with israel. president mubarak decided to keep that peace. he put thousands of extremists behind bars. many were tortured. when that fellow extremists massacred 58 tourists, mubarak intensified his fight against their insurgency. to the white house he was seen as the beacon of stability. within egypt his whole regime had become associated with corruption and a brutal suppression of dissent. the secret police had a fearful reputation. this fear fueled hatred towards
him. >> president mubarak leaves behind broken institutions -- >> hello and welcome. >> see the news unfold, get the top stories from around the globe and click-to-play video reports. go to bbc.com/news to experience the in-depth, expert reporting of "bbc world news" online. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. new man's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank.
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. egyptian president mubarak stepped down today and handed control to the military. it was a dramatic conclusion to 18 days of protests. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, we get the latest on this historic day from lindsey hilsum of independent television news, and our own margaret warner. they're both in cairo, where the crowd erupted in cheers when the announcement was made. >> it took us a lot, over 18 days but in e