NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Egyptian-Americans and human rights activists rallied in New York City Saturday to celebrate the ouster of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and to call for human rights reforms in the country.
There were two separate rallies in the city — one at the Egyptian mission near the United Nations and another at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. They came one day after Mubarak was ousted from power.
On Saturday the ruling military pledged to eventually hand power to an elected civilian government.
But Amnesty International, which hosted the “Day of Solidarity” at the Egyptian mission, and its senior director for international law and policy Widney Brown said authorities in Egypt must press forward with human rights reforms.
Fewer than 200 people attended the two rallies.
Demonstrations broke out across the Tri-State area on Friday, including “Little Egypt” in Astoria, Queens when Mubarak agreed to step down Friday after 18 days of protests.
On Steinway Street, people stormed out of shops into the streets and began singing as drivers honked their horns and waved Egyptian flags as word spread that Mubarak was out.
“Freedom, freedom, freedom,” shouted one man from his car.
“Now we’re free. Free at last, free at last,” another man told CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman.
There was also happiness and jubilation amongst Egyptian Americans Friday at the Altawheed Islamic Center in Jersey City.
“It’s an extraordinary feeling. It’s been thirty years in the regime. It was about time for [Mubarak] to get out. People weren’t worried who’s going to come next, what’s going to come next — they just wanted him out,” one man at the center told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.