(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama hailed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's abrupt decision to step down Friday, ending his 30-year-reign, as Egyptian armed forces took control of the country's leadership.
"The people of Egypt have spoken. Their voices have been heard and Egypt will never be the same," the president said. "By stepping down, President Mubarak responded to the Egyptian people's hunger for change, but this is not the end of Egypt's transition. This is the beginning."
Hailing the protesters, especially the young generation that "turned the wheel of history," Obama called for a peaceful and constructive move to democracy in the country that has been rocked by protests for 18 days.
As Mubarak's long-awaited announced was made by his vice president Omar Suleiman, crowds gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square erupted into loud cheers, chanting "Egypt is free, Egypt is free," as the historic announcement was made.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio