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Amr Nabil/AP

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has resigned

The appointed vice-president has announced that Mubarak has decided to “waive the office of the republic”.

Updated at 16.11

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT Hosni Mubarak has fled the country, leaving the army in charge of the republic, it has just been announced.

Omar Suleiman, named as vice-president recently, has made a statement, saying: ”President Hosni Mubarak has decided to waive the office of the republic”, the Guardian reports.

The crowds in central Cairo exploded with cheers after Suleiman’s short statement, Al Jazeera reports. The crowd in Tharir Square – known as Liberation Square – chanted “We have brought down the regime!”

Mubarak has left the country just hours after his televised address to the nation in which he handed over some powers to his vice-president but refused to quit office.

Speculation that the president had fled began to circulate earlier today: In a Arabic message posted to Twitter, Al Jazeera cited ‘multiple sources’ as saying Mubarak had left the country and fled to the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, Arabic-language TV news channel Al Arabiya also reported that the president and his family had left the country, though it later adjusted its report to state that the deeply unpopular president had left the capital, Cairo.

Earlier, the military has announced it would be lifting a 30-year-old emergency law and guarantee free and fair elections, as well as overseeing six constitutional amendments announced by Mubarak last night to facilitate the transition to power.

The reports came after tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the capital’s Tahrir Square for what was being termed ‘Farewell Friday’, promising to force Mubarak to reconsider his decision to stay until new elections in September.

Protest organisers hoped to encourage as many as 20 million demonstrators to take to the country’s streets, and to win the support of the military in an attempted storm of Mubarak’s presidential palace.

The Friday protests, which coincide with the Muslim Sabbath day meaning most are off work, follow early morning prayers when many preachers spoke of unity, and which – unusually – saw men and women pray side-by-side in some cases.

In Iran, meanwhile, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has held a pro-Egypt and anti-Israel rally, saying the Egyptian uprising was the sign of a birth of a new Middle East free from the influence of Israel or the United States.

Watch events as they unfold on Al Jazeera’s live stream >

Egyptians outside embassy on Clyde Road in Dublin today:

Photo: Gavan Reilly

Additional reporting by Jennifer Wade

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