NEW YORK (CBS 2/AP) — Hundreds of Egyptians demonstrated outside the United Nations complex in New York City on Saturday in support of the mass protests that have gripped their homeland.
The crowd was loud and emotional, but peaceful, as they called for the international community to support the popular uprising and abandon Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Many said they were sure the unrest would force Mubarak to step down. He has been in power for three decades.
“I want the United States to demand, and other nations to demand, that he leaves,” Jersey City resident Sherein Bakheet told CBS 2′s Demetra Ganias.
Bakheet is American-born, but worries about family and friends who are among those fighting for social and economic change. That change, she said, is possible only if Mubarak ends his reign.
“The longer he’s there, the more people are going to die, and the more blood is on his hands,” she said.
Ahmed Soliman, of Manhattan, said Egypt deserves a leader who is “completely democratic.” He said he was sure 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.”
Joy over the expression of dissent has been muted, though, by news of looting and violence.
Dahlia Ashour, a native of Cairo who still has family there, said she wanted to see the United Nations step in to protect museums and help ensure a peaceful transition to democracy.
“We want the looting to stop,” she said. Ashour added, with her voice quavering, that she was disappointed President Barack Obama hadn’t made a forceful statement in support of the protestors.
“He is not standing by the people. He should be standing by the people, not by the regime,” she said.
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