World Reacts to Mubarak Resignation

Pro-democracy supporters react to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak outside the Egyptian Embassy in London, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Sang Tan) Sang Tan

Pro-democracy supporters react to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak outside the Egyptian Embassy in London, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011.
AP Photo/Sang Tan
Last Updated 2:58 p.m. ET

The post-revolution has begun, as the world reacts to a nation ousting its president after three decades of rule. From Beirut to Gaza, fireworks and celebratory gunfire erupted as people rushed into the streets to celebrate Hosni Mubarak stepping down.

From Beirut to Gaza, fireworks and celebratory gunfire erupted as people rushed into the streets to celebrate.

Even in Israel, which had watched the Egyptian protesters' uprising against Mubarak with concern, a former Cabinet minister said Mubarak did the right thing.

"The street won," former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Israel TV's Channel 10. "There was nothing that could be done. It's good that he did what he did."

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called is "a historic day for the people of Egypt" during an appearance in Kentucky.

President Barack Obama learned of President Mubarak's decision to resign during a White House meeting. And then, like people all over the world, he watched television coverage of history unfolding.

Mr. Obama is planning to make a statement at 3:00 p.m. EST about the developments.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was pleased that "President Mubarak has heard and heeded the voice of the Egyptian people, who have called for change. It is crucial that Mubarak's departure be an orderly one and that it leads to true democracy for Egypt, including free, fair and open elections."

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sounded a congratulatory but cautious note, reports CBS News foreign policy analyst Pamela Falk, saying that he commends the people of Egypt and calls for a "transparent, orderly and peaceful transition."

Outside Number 10 Downing Street in London, British Prime Minister David Cameron said, ""Today has been a remarkable day, particularly for those people in Tahrir Square and elsewhere who have spoken out so bravely and peacefully for change in their country.

"Egypt now has a really precious moment of opportunity to have a government that can bring the country together. As a friend of Egypt and the Egyptian people we stand ready to help in any way that we can. We believe it must be a government that starts to put in place the building blocks of a truly open, free and democratic society. And of course what has happened today should only be the first step."

In Berlin German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Mubarak's resignation "an historic moment of change" and a "day of great joy," and said she hoped Egyptian society would undergo "irreversible" changes to be free of corruption, censorship, detentions and torture.

The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that, by standing down, Mubarak "has listened to the voices of the Egyptian people and has opened the way to faster and deeper reforms."

Ashton said that "it is important now that the dialogue is accelerated leading to a broad-based government."

EU Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said the Egyptian people now want the old regime to be completely dismantled. "Europe will measure the next steps in the fulfillment of the people's demand by repealing the emergency laws and by ending all intimidation of journalists, human rights defenders or political dissidents," Buzek said Friday.

Fireworks erupted in the Lebanese capital of Beirut after Mubarak stepped down. Celebratory gunfire could be heard in the Shiite dominated areas in south Lebanon and in southern Beirut.

On al-Manar TV, the station run by the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah faction, Egyptian anchor Amr Nassef cried emotionally on the air and said: "Allahu Akbar, the Pharaoh is dead. Am I dreaming? I'm afraid to be dreaming."

In the Gaza Strip, ruled by the Islamic militant Hamas, thousands rushed into the streets in jubilation. Gunmen fired in the air and women handed out candy. "God bless Egypt, it's a day of joy and God willing all corrupt leaders in the world will fall," said Radwa Abu Ali, 55, one of the women distributing sweets.

In Tunisia, where a popular uprising ousted that country's autocratic ruler dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali less than a month ago, thousands were on the streets celebrating the developments in Egypt. One source told CBS News that a demonstration outside the Egyptian embassy in Tunis "has turned into a party."

"God delivered our Egyptian brothers from this dictator," said Yacoub Youssef, one of those celebrating in the capital of Tunis.

There was no immediate official reaction from Tunisia's caretaker government.

The Washington-based group Human Rights First issued a statement by international policy advisor Neil Hicks, who called today's announcement "an important step towards a democratic government in Egypt. Military authorities now in de-facto control of the government should move immediately to form an inclusive transitional authority, including credible representatives of the opposition, to oversee the period leading up to elections.

"Free elections held in an atmosphere of peace and with guarantees of fairness and transparency can set Egypt on a path towards a new, legitimate government grounded in the rule of law, a firm basis for a state that will uphold the basic rights and freedoms of all Egyptians."

But not everyone on the African continent may be hearing the news. Foreign Policy reports that Zimbabwe's own dictatorial leader, Robert Mugabe, is censoring news of the protests in Egypt - and, likely, news of protests that have broken out in Gabon and Algeria against their respective regimes.

Noureddine Mezni, spokesman for the chairman of the African Union commission, called Mubarak's resignation "historic" and added he hoped Egypt would emerge "a stronger and more stable nation."

But he could not say what steps the AU would take next as Egypt's government changes power.

World markets have responded positively, with stocks jumping across the board on the news of Mubarak's resignation. On Wall Street the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.2 percent to 12,254.34 while the Standard & Poor's 500 index was 0.3 percent higher at 1,325.81.

The news from Egypt also weighed down on oil prices, which had rallied in recent weeks on fears of the impact on crude transportation.

A spokesperson for the Swiss foreign ministry said his government would freeze all accounts of the former Egyptian president effective immediately.

In a Twitter message Bahrain's foreign minister Khalid al Khalifa said, "#Egypt takes the Arab world into a new era .. Let's make it a better one."

Comedian Harry Shearer ("This is Spinal Tap," "The Simpsons") also posted a message on Twitter: "Dear George W. Bush: this is how the Middle East gets re-made. No invasions necessary."

He also advised Egyptians that now comes the hard part, while also chiding them on their celebration: "Dear Cairo: If you were Detroit after a sports victory, you'd have burned a lot more cars by now."

  • CBSNews.com wire services

    CBSNews.com wire services

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