(CN) – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has stepped down, causing the country’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to take power on Friday, according to the Egypt State Information Service, which was restored after the state lifted a controversial Internet blackout. The much-anticipated news comes two and a half weeks after mass protests took hold of Egypt on Jan. 25, calling for an end to Mubarak’s 30-year autocratic reign.
Mubarak had stubbornly clung to power amid the uprising, but his position began to weaken on Thursday when he said he would retain his title but delegate his power to his vice president Omar Suleiman. In a speech on Thursday, Mubarak said that “the blood of the martyrs and injured will not go in vain.” Suleiman announced Friday that power has transferred to the state military.
Suleiman called for a peaceful transition on Thursday that maintains “the youth revolution and its gains.”
“Egypt’s youth and heroes, please go back to your homes and works,” he said, according to a transcript provided by Egypt’s news source. “The homeland needs your efforts to build, develop and create. Do not listen to predacious radios and TV channels that have nothing to do but to ignite sedition, weaken Egypt and tarnish its image. Just listen to what your conscience dictates, your estimation and your awareness of the perils surrounding us.”
In a statement from the White House on Thursday, President Barack Obama said the Egyptian government must “swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language the step by step process that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek.”
“The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people,” Obama continued. “In these difficult times, I know that the Egyptian people will persevere, and they must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America.”
Egyptians reportedly erupted in relief on Friday when Suleiman announced the transfer of power to the military.
Obama is scheduled to address the nation on the news this afternoon.