Monday, February 14, 2011

Young Egyptians in U.S. Hopeful About Post-Mubarak Era

NEW YORK - Young Egyptians who gathered Saturday to celebrate the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak expressed hope about the future, even as a leading human rights group and others said major reforms are still needed in the Middle Eastern nation.

The rallies held in several major U.S. cities Saturday followed spontaneous demonstrations that broke out the day before when Mubarak agreed to step down after 18 days of protests.

About a dozen young Egyptians who gathered in Indianapolis said they are looking forward to democracy, liberty and prosperity in their native country. Ahmed Elessawy, a 29-year-old pharmacist intern, left Egypt two years ago because he couldn't support a family there. He said Saturday he hopes to work in both Egypt and the U.S. in the future.

Amna Awad, a 21-year-old philosophy student who spent her first 10 years in Egypt, said she organized the Indianapolis rally after being inspired and motivated by people in the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities the last few weeks.

About 50 people gathered outside the White House on Saturday afternoon chanting, "Human Rights Now." Some held signs supporting the protesters in Egypt and across the Middle East that read "Peaceful Protest Is A Right."

In New York, the human rights group Amnesty International led a rally at the Egyptian Mission to the United Nations. Members of the group called on Egyptian authorities to lift the state of emergency immediately and enact other reforms such as protecting the rights of religious minorities.

Rallies also were planned in Detroit and San Francisco.

Associated press

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