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Egyptian protesters celebrate in London

By Susannah Palk for CNN
  • Protesters gathered in front of Egypt's embassy in London to celebrate Mubarak's resignation
  • Many have been protesting in front of the embassy for over two weeks
  • Chants calling on the president to leave turned to songs of celebration and dancing

London, England (CNN) -- They arrived ready to protest, but for demonstrators outside Egypt's Embassy in London, chants soon turned to songs of celebration as news spread of President's Hosni Mubarak's resignation.

Carrying flags and playing drums, around 150 anti-Mubarak protesters danced, sang and prayed in front of the embassy, in London's well-heeled Mayfair area.

After the bitter disappointment of Thursday's speech when Mubarak vowed to stay in office, many thought today's announcement would be a long time coming.

Trader Ahmed Khalifa, 23, has been demonstrating in front of the embassy for more than two weeks. "This is what you call a sweet victory," he told CNN.

After eight years away from my country I will now go back to start a new life as a free man, without Mubarak.
--Egyptian protester Salah Elsddek

"Yesterday he (Mubarak) brought us all down, we thought he was never going to go. I came here today ready to protest and now it's a celebration."

Waving a placard, Salah Elsddek, a 31-year-old web designer, couldn't contain his excitement. "This is the best day of my life," he exclaimed.

"After eight years away from my country I will now go back to start a new life as a free man, without Mubarak."

When asked if he was concerned about the future leadership of his country Elsddek replied, "Yes, I'm worried, but I'm sure the Egyptian people will not stop now.

"We will try and get the best man for our country. The future is bright, the tyrant is gone."

As protesters celebrated in the street below, Egyptian officials looked tentatively out of the embassy windows. Protesters waved back, making peace signs with their hands and calling on them to join the celebrations.

Mohamed Ezeldin Ahmed, 22, who spent last night watching Mubarak's speech in a London restaurant with a small group of ardent anti-Mubarak protestors, explained the situation.

"We are asking them to come down and celebrate," he said. "But they won't, they are the people who support Mubarak."

For some of the young Egyptians living abroad, the change in leadership has renewed hopes that one day they will be able move back to a country with renewed opportunities.

Student Mohamed Ibrahim, 22, left Egypt three years ago. He told CNN: "Under Mubarak the main hopes for the young people were to travel abroad, leave and get a decent job outside of Egypt. But now, from this moment, from this day, things will be different."

But for most, this was not a day to speculate on the future. This was a day of celebration. College lecturer Khairy Eteiwy, 34, summed up the mood: "Tonight we have made history.

"We can now tell our children that we were here, we contributed, we've done something amazing and that's never happened before."