After 18 days of protests calling for his resignation, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak capitulated yesterday and will hand over power to the military. Vice President Omar Suleiman announced the resignation in a very short televised broadcast. CNN reports the tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Cairo erupted into cheers and chants of “Egypt is free!” and “God is great!” after the announcement. The Swiss government is freezing the assets of Mubarak and his family, while the most populous nation in the Arab world now has to decide where to go from here.
Meanwhile on Twitter, the news spread quickly and the jokes and awesome comments followed. @mhegi wrote, “Uninstalling dictator COMPLETE – installing now: Egypt 2.0″ @annazucco wrote, “My 2 year old asked me why everyone on tv was crying. I told her they were happy so she kissed the television. No joke.” @acarvin says, “Happy birthday, Egypt. Sorry I didn’t get you anything.” And of course @darthvader weighed in with, “Dear Egypt: Impressive, but I personally would have gone with the reactor shaft.”
Protesters are flocking to Algiers, the capital of Algeria, today to participate in a pro-democracy march despite an official ban on rallies. As many as 35,000 police officers with riot shields and batons have been deployed to Algiers to block the May 1 Square, the site where protesters have planned to gather. Roads into Algiers have been blockaded and some train services within Algiers have been stopped.
Over sixty members (including four senior members) of the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) party were arrested this morning, and the RCD headquarters has been surrounded by police. Demonstrations like today’s have been banned in Algeria since 1992 when the military called a state of emergency and cancelled free elections. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika (who has been in power since 1999) has promised to call off the state of emergency soon, allow more freedoms, and create jobs, but those promises may be 12 years too late.
- Police in Australia were left dumbfounded as to why an 18-year-old male with two naked teenage girls riding with him somehow ended up driving into a canal. What ever could have distracted him? That is a mystery. (Arbroath)
- Some Chinese rice exporters are being accused of shipping out fake rice molded from potatoes and plastic. Delicious. (Geekosystem)
- The Marlow & Sons restaurant in Williamsburg sells leather bags made from the cows eaten there. For a price, you could probably also force-feed the cow its own milk and make it wear a Green Bay Packers cheese hat. USA! USA! USA! (NYPost)
KNOW YOUR STATS
- A study from the Pew Research Center finds that 52% of Americans have heard “little to nothing” about the recent developments in Egypt. Meanwhile, a study from the Pew Pew Pew Research Center finds that lasers are still totally awesome. (PewResearch)
- The Economist put together a “Shoe Throwers Index” measuring political unrest in seventeen of the nations belonging to the Arab League. Tunisia was in eleventh place for “most unrest”; Egypt was in third. (TheEconomist)
- 21% of people in Egypt are internet users. Of those people, one out of five are on Facebook, but did any of them answer my Farmville requests two weeks ago? Noooo. (VisualLoop)
- Pictures via BoingBoing, SofaPizza, and TheBigPicture.