Hundreds calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak peacefully demonstrated in several U.S. cities on Saturday to show their support for the anti-government throngs that have taken over a sprawling public square in Cairo.
About 150 people gathered outside the New Orleans federal building to demand that Egyptian President step down. Meanwhile, about 180 people demonstrated in Atlanta outside the headquarters of CNN. In Washington, more than 100 marched from the Egyptian Embassy to the White House, following protests in that city on Tuesday and last Saturday. Rallies were also held in New York and Seattle.
At the New Orleans demonstration, the group waved signs and Egyptian flags and chanted “Get up, stand up! Stand up for your rights.”
“That’s a drop in the bucket,” Egypt native Reda Bakeer, a 57-year-old engineer, said of the protest he joined. “I have friends who are dying. We have joined a party here.”
Some protesters expressed concern about the increasingly dangerous situation in the country, where anti-government protesters and Mubarak supporters have clashed in the streets.
Bakeer, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 1991, said he was concerned about family members in Egypt, including his elderly mother. But he added- “It’s bigger than my family.”
Ahmed Bayoumi, a 42-year0-old engineer who came to the United States to study in 1999, said the Egyptian dissidents have taken to the streets for the same reason he left the country -- a lack of opportunity. He said that the Mubarak regime had “corrupted the souls of Egyptians.”
“It has been pushing the thought that if you’re well-connected and have money, you will have prosperity,” he said.
In Washington, the rally had mostly concluded by early evening, but some protesters said they planned to stay overnight at Lafayette Square across from the White House, in solidarity with the thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Earlier in the day, an organizer with a megaphone led the sign-carrying group in chants that included “Hey Mubarak, pack your stuff!”
Some protesters came from far beyond Washington. The Flint Journal newspaper reports about 50 people in Michigan boarded a bus Friday to join the protest, picking up others in Detroit and Toledo, Ohio.
In Seattle, about 200 people gathered carrying signs that said “step down now” and “free Egypt” to show their solidarity with antigovernment protesters.
Many of the protesters at Seattle’s Westlake Park were of Egyptian descent and called for Mubarak to step down.
Egyptian immigrant Ghada Ellithy, of Bellevue, Washington, attended the demonstration with her 14-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son. She carried a handmade paper Egyptian flag that said “Go Egypt” and said she was showing support for her mother and brother, among those who have gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.