Protesters Across US Offer Support to Egyptians

Published on
by
the Associated Press

Protesters Across US Offer Support to Egyptians

by
Caryn Rousseau

People shout chants in support of protesters in Egypt at a rally in downtown Seattle, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. Hundreds people gathered Saturday to show their support and solidarity for anti-government demonstrations in Egypt. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

CHICAGO 
-- Thousands of people in Egypt who flooded streets in riots calling for
President Hosni Mubarak to step down were joined Saturday by relatives
and supporters at protests in major American cities.

"Mubarak
will go. If not today, then tomorrow," Magdy Al-Abady, 39, of Chicago,
said during a demonstration downtown in front of the Egyptian
consulate's office. The genomics researcher, with an Egyptian flag
draped over his shoulders, said his brother and parents were protesting
in Egypt and he was speaking often with his brother.

Protesters
also gathered outside the United Nations complex in New York City,
filled the street in front of the Egyptian embassy in Washington and
marched through downtown San Francisco to show solidarity with the
uprising. Other cities including Seattle and Los Angeles also saw
demonstrations.

In Chicago, picketers marched
and chanted, "Hey Mubarak you will see, all Egyptians will be free."
They held signs that said "Victory to the Egyptian people" and "Freedom
and Justice for all Egyptians."

Al-Abady said he wants President Barack Obama to support the Egyptian people.

"He
must say very clearly that he does not support Mubarak," Al-Abady said.
"Mubarak is not Egypt. The Egyptians are not Mubarak."

The crowd in New York called for the international community to support the popular uprising and abandon Mubarak.

Dahlia
Ashour, a native of the Egyptian capital of Cairo who still has family
in Egypt, said she was disappointed Obama hadn't made a forceful
statement in support of the protesters. "He should be standing by the
people, not by the regime," she said.

Obama
has issued a plea for restraint in Egypt and called on Mubarak to take
steps to democratize his government and refrain from using violence
against his people.

Ahmed Soliman, of
Manhattan, said Egypt deserves a leader who is "completely democratic."
He said the riots and massive demonstrations are the result of genuine
popular anger, not the work of a scheming opposition party.

"This
is coming from the people," he said. "I've been waiting for this to
happen. I left Egypt 18 years ago, and I have been dreaming of this day
since then."

In downtown Seattle, protesters carried hand-lettered signs, saying "We'll shout until he's out" and "Down, Down Mubarak."

Dozens
gathered in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., to peacefully protest,
waving Egyptian flags, holding signs and chanting for Mubarak to step
down as they marched toward Boston.

In San
Francisco, a crowd crammed into a small plaza waving Egyptian flags and
raising chants in English and Arabic against Mubarak. Demonstrators said
they were not placated by Mubarak's decision Saturday to name his
intelligence chief as his first-ever vice president.

"We
want to say to the U.S. administration: Stop supporting terror - terror
and dictatorship," said Omar Ali, 21, of San Francisco, referring to
the Mubarak regime. "Either you stand for democracy or not."

College
students in Los Angeles used Facebook to organize a demonstration
outside the federal building in Westwood, asking for Mubarak to be
ousted and a new interim government.

In
Chicago, 35-year-old student and mother Basma Hassan waved the Egyptian
flag and said she wants the Egyptian people to know they have support in
the U.S.

"We feel their pain," she said. "We don't want anyone to think we betrayed them."

Associated
Press reporters Marcus R. Wohlsen in San Francisco, Christopher Weber
in Los Angeles and Jessica Gresko in Washington contributed to this
report. AP staff photographer Ted S. Warren contributed from Seattle.

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