WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 100 protesters filled the street in front of the Egyptian embassy in Washington on Saturday, demanding that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak step down.
The demonstrators turned out to support friends and family in Egypt, where thousands of protesters have thrown the country’s 30-year-old regime into tumult. Protestors in Washington waved red, black and white Egyptian flags, chanted in English and Arabic and held signs that said: “Victory to the Egyptian People!” and “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
While the protesters’ chants mainly targeted Mubarak, many people also criticized the Obama administration’s response to the clashes in Egypt, saying the president should be more forceful in opposing the Mubarak regime. One protester held a sign that read, “Obama: Democracy or Hypocrisy?” Protesters also chanted “Hey Obama listen up! Hosni Mubarak’s time is up!” Some protesters planned to go to the White House later in the day.
Protesters also uniformly expressed outrage that Mubarak had appointed his intelligence chief and close confidant Omar Suleiman as vice president, suggesting that Suleiman would be the 82-year-old Mubarak’s successor.
Tamim Al-Barghouti, 32, a professor at Georgetown who was born in Egypt, said he didn’t believe Mubarak’s choice would pacify Egyptians.
“I don’t think they are going to accept the continuation of the regime under another name,” Al-Barghouti said.
Al-Barghouti and others described talking with relatives and friends, particularly in Cairo, who have taken to the streets or are guarding their apartment buildings to protect against lawlessness.
Sahar Soliman, 28, a translator who was born in Egypt, described the situation in her home country as tense.
“I hope and pray chaos does not prevail,” she said.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)