Egypt-Americans across U.S. protest Mubarak rule




-- Saturday saw protests across the United States, held to express solidarity with the anti-government demonstrations currently roiling Egypt. Whether on the East Coast or the West Coast, crowds carried banners, flags and signs as they chanted, hoping their support could be felt thousands of miles away in Cairo, Alexandria and other Egyptian cities.

In San Francisco, demonstrators gathered at a corner on Market Street and quickly packed the sidewalk, waving Egyptian and American flags. Participants seemed to represent a rainbow of backgrounds and ages. There were elderly couples, teenagers and children with Egypt's colors painted on their faces. Many Egyptian-Americans were there, enlivening the chants with Arabic phrases. But plenty of people of Latin, Caucasian and Asian descent also turned out to march, support Egyptian demonstrators and demand the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

Among the call-and-response chants came a reference to recent protests in Tunisia: "Oh Mubarak, can't you see? Time to join Ben Ali."

In Seattle, traditional Egyptian melodies were heard among the chants and slogans. One man who led the chorus of old songs was impressed by the Egyptian movement's use of social media. "Thanks to new technology and new communications, the people from Facebook and Twitter, we are able to come together and make this happen. All the young people ... they feel like sometimes there is no chance. But you see this and think ... there is a chance."

There was a small demonstration in Texas outside the Egyptian Consulate building in Houston. It seemed to be a family affair, with small children flashing peace signs as their families waved flags and signs. "They need everyone to hear them," one demonstrator told CNN affiliate KIAH. "That's the only way we can get change. It's not going to come from within, it's going to come from outside. That's why we're out here now."

Egyptian-Americans gathered in Toledo, Ohio, too. They waved Egyptian flags and carried signs that read "Defend Democracy" and "Defend Human Rights." Although only a handful of people braved the cold, nearly every passing car honked in support.

On the East Coast, hundreds gathered outside the United Nations in New York. They held up signs that read: "Mubarak Regime MUST GO," "Egypt's Struggle Is Our Struggle!" and "Egypt -- We Hear You!"

Meanwhile, they yelled out in unison, "Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! Mubarak must go!"

Sharif Sadek, a young Egyptian-American filmmaker in the New York crowd, said the ouster of the Egyptian leader is the only acceptable outcome. He urged U.S. leaders to make this happen.

"The United States can urge Mubarak to step down and leave the country. Go to Switzerland. Go to South Africa. Go to the moon. We do not want President Mubarak," Sadek said.

In Washington, protesters assembled outside the Egyptian Embassy before heading to the White House. One protester held up a cardboard sign that read: "Pharaoh! Let the people go!"

Sam Abouissa, a protest organizer who said his brothers were arrested in Egypt while protesting, said he walked door-to-door in the capital to solicit support from fellow Egyptians.

"We need freedom. We need freedom on the Internet. Freedom of communications. Freedom of expressing our opinion. Freedom of life. Freedom of choice," Abouissa said. "We have to choose. We have to be free to choose."

Anti-Mubarak demonstrations were scheduled to take place in locations across the United States on Sunday too.