NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) –– A group of about 150 people gathered to rally across the street from the United Nations building on Saturday in support of Egyptians demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.
There was a legitimate feeling of optimism among those who braved the rain and cold after high-profile figures in Egypt’s ruling party resigned Saturday – including Mubarak’s son Gamal.
Shouting slogans like “Egypt will be free” and “Mubarak must go,” those participating in the rally said they would continue to do so as long as Egyptians took to the streets of Cairo.
“This is the first time I’m proud. I’m so proud to be an Egyptian because finally we stood up for something that we believe in,” one man told 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan.
1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan with Egyptian-Americans encouraged by the latest developments in the country
While those gathered outside the United Nations said their hope of an eventual transition to an Egyptian democracy is a step by step process, they declared the people were winning.
“My sister is there and a lot of friends are there. I know a lot of people who are going out and protesting. I’m afraid for them, but at the same time, I’m proud of them,” one woman told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.
WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall with people participating in Saturday’s rally outside the U.N.
Another Egyptian-American man, named Ahmed, told Hall he was thankful for the support the movement was receiving in the United States.
“The thing which attracted me in the first place to come to live in America was the principles that this country stood for,” he said, “freedom is the most precious thing.”
Ahmed said he constantly thinks of his family and the potential for the region if Mubarak stepped down.
“If Egypt will start to enjoy the same freedoms we have here in the United States, the rest of the Middle East will have to open the door,” he said.
A man named Jason said while he didn’t have any family in Egypt, he still wanted to come out to show his support.
“We want to let the people of Egypt know that we stand with them and we’re trying to put pressure on our own government to stop sending money to support dictatorship,” he said.
The rally comes on the heels of diverging comments from officials in Washington.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested Saturday that the U.S. believed Mubarak had set in motion and orderly transition of power.
“We have to send a consistent message supporting the orderly transition that has begun,” Clinton said in Munich.
Her comments were a departure from the Obama administration’s earlier stance that centered almost entirely on the need for the transition to begin immediately.
Also, Saturday, President Obama’s special envoy to Egypt, Frank Wisner, said he believed “Mubarak’s continued leadership is critical.”
“This is an ideal moment for him to show the way forward,” Wisner said.
The State Department distanced itself from those comments and said Wisner’s remarks were formed by his own opinion and not that of the U.S. government.
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)