News / Middle East

Anti-Mubarak Activists Stage Rally in Los Angeles

Protesters at the anti-Mubarak rally in Los Angeles, February 5, 2011
Protesters at the anti-Mubarak rally in Los Angeles, February 5, 2011

Hundreds of protesters assembled on Saturday at the Federal Building in Los Angeles, California, to express solidarity with anti-Mubarak demonstrators in Egypt. Many protestors were Egyptian-Americans, recent immigrants as well as long-time US residents. They were joined by immigrants from Iran and ordinary Americans.

Besides calling on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down, protesters waived signs demanding the US stop providing aid to the government led by him.

Many people expressed their feelings as mixed, proud of the courageous demonstrators in Egypt, optimistic for change, yet all the while concerned for the safety of the Egyptian people. Also, in the midst of the protest, a group of Muslims prayed in front of the federal building.

Watch raw video from the rally:

Listen to what some of the protesters had to say:

Sana Ezzat came to the protest from Las Vegas. She was born and raised in Cairo, but has lived in the U.S. for more than 40 years. She admires her former countrymen for finally speaking out.

“This is injustice, no one can accept that. I feel for the people that have the courage to speak their mind finally, it’s way overdue, I’m so glad that they had the courage to come out and say how they feel, and it’s about time for the president to understand their feeling, and depart peacefully before there is more bloodshed in this process.”

Thirty-year-old Karim El Defrawy was also was born in Egypt, but moved to the U.S. five years ago to study.

“Some of my friends [in Egypt] got injured and they had to carry dead people on their shoulders. And all their demands are legitimate demands, they didn’t ask for anything extra or something that they don’t deserve… I grew up in Egypt and unfortunately there isn’t a lot of free speech. And the media is used as a tool for propaganda and to scare the people and it’s sad. On the other hand, the people finally have broken the barrier of fear, the fear barrier and their voice has been heard, and at this point it’s up to them, I guess.”

Twenty-nine-year-old Wale El Haddad came to the U.S. from Egypt two and a half years ago.

”All over Egypt, in Cairo, in Tahrir Square, in Alexandria and Suez, we are sending a message for them that we stand behind them. And we are sending the message also to the US authorities that they have to stop their aid to the Egyptian government. They send every year more than a billion dollars in aid for security of the Egyptian government. They have to stop that. They have to take the side of the Egyptian people; they have to force this regime to step down.”

Simone Larson, a 20-year-old American, studied in Cairo for four months, and just came back to the U.S. two and half weeks ago.

”Now seeing all the people just revolting, just coming up and rising against the government, you know, it’s very empowering even for me all the way over here in America. I support the Egyptian people and I want to be there for them, I want to help spread the word, I want to help them achieve democracy and achieve a free election.”

Dr. Osama Haikal, a physician living and working in Las Vegas, was among the organizers of the Los Angeles rally.

“If our [American] interest in Egypt and the world in general needs a ruthless, blood-sucking dictator to be served, than there is something morally wrong with our interest. It’s time for us here in the U.S. to examine our morality, our interest in the Middle East. If our interest needs a dictator, than we are wrong, we are dead wrong…. If we don’t stand at the right side of history today with the Egyptian people, you are going to get what you’re afraid of, period. History never lies. It repeats itself over and over and over; it’s for us to learn the lesson.”

The protesters were joined also by members of the local Iranian community.

Neseer Emamy believes that the events in Egypt will inspire others in the region.

”As an Iranian in support of freedom and of governments for and by the people for our country and for all countries in the world, with great interest I’m watching this movement and I’m convinced that this is the beginning of a renaissance for the region and it will have a positive impact, particularly for our sweet homeland Iran.”

Another Iranian, who gave his name as Paymaun, shared Neseer’s view.

”As an Iranian with a dream for democracy in Iran, when I see this uprising in Tunisia, in Egypt and the continuation of the Green movement in Iran, I become hopeful that there will be a future of democracy in the Middle East.”

The protest was mainly organized by the Los Angeles chapter of the anti-war coalition, ANSWER. About 100 men and women made the trip from Las Vegas, feeling they could get more exposure by protesting in Los Angeles.   

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs