Feb 6, 2011 1:11 PM by Chris Welty
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - About 150 people demanding the immediate
ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak demonstrated outside the
New Orleans federal building Saturday, saying Mubarak's departure
from power is long overdue.
Waving signs and Egyptian flags and chanting "get up, stand up,
stand up for your rights," the peaceful protest - watched by
courthouse security officers and curious bystanders - took place in
a cold wind as thousands continued their often-violent protest in
"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."
Bakeer, a naturalized U.S. citizen since 1991, said he was
concerned about family members in Egypt, including an elderly
mother, but: "It's bigger than my family."
He said he traveled to Egypt recently, returning to the United
States on Jan. 8 after seeing signs of an impending crisis in his
native country, including bombings and smaller demonstrations. "It
was coming," he said.
One issue is who might succeed Mubarak, who appeared Saturday to
be digging in his heels even though the top leadership body of
Egypt's ruling party resigned Saturday, including the president's
"When you're a dictator, you create a vacuum," Bakeer said.
"They mystery becomes who is going to take over."
But Bakeer added that Mubarak "should have left yesterday. And
yesterday was 1981."
Ahmed Bayoumi, a 42-year-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.
Bayoumi said there had been enough bloodshed in Egypt. The end
of the crisis "boils down to the determination of the Egyptian
people," he said.