After 18 days of protest, the 30-year regime of Egypt’s ageing President, Hosni Mubarak, came to an end on the evening of 11 February 2011.
The roots of the revolution lay with a small group of educated internet bloggers, who used Facebook and Twitter to publicise their grievances in the face of severe censorship of the press and airwaves.
They balked at their government’s inability to provide jobs, keep food prices down, increase wages and stop police brutality.
Emboldened by the events in Tunisia, protests finally spilt out onto the streets of Cairo and other cities across the country. Cairo’s Tahrir Square became a focal point for protesters who set up a vast tent city. Throughout the days of unrest, people of all ages from a broad cross-section of Egyptian society fought street battles against government supporters that caused hundreds of deaths and innumerable injuries.
For the majority of Egyptians, it was their first experience of protest and freedom of expression – a feeling that many said made them proud to be Egyptian again. Despite the government’s desperate promises, small concessions and an election that had been mooted for the future, the numbers in the streets continued to swell. The regime could no longer ignore the call of the people.
Finally, on 11 February 2011, Hosni Mubarak resigned, realising he no longer enjoyed the support of the top brass of the army.
The protesters in downtown Cairo had won and millions of Egyptians celebrated the dawn of a new era – both for their country and, as many hoped, for the Arab world.