WESTWOOD (CBS) — Several hundred demonstrators filled the streets in front of the Federal Building in Westwood and the Egyptian consulate to show solidarity with the uprising in Egypt and demand the ouster of the Egyptian president.
The protesters – members of the local chapter of Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) – gathered outside the Federal Building in Westwood Saturday afternoon.
A separate demonstration took place outside the Egyptian Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard, with protesters calling for an end to about $1.5 billion annually in U.S. economic and military aid to the Mubarak regime.
Some analysts have suggested the unrest in Egypt and in other pockets of North Africa could destabilize the entire region.
Dr. Maher Hathout, a retired cardiologist who is active in the Muslim-American community, characterized the unrest as a popular uprising and was doubtful it would devolve into anarchy. Hathout immigrated to the United States from Egypt 40 years ago.
“I’m not concerned,” Hathout said Friday. “I trust the Egyptian people. We have a deep history and rich experiences, and will not allow that to happen.
“This movement represents Muslims and Christians of Egypt, women, old and young. No one except the government says (the uprising) is instigated by extremists.”
Tarek Shawky, a Riverside County public defender whose wife is director of communications for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said he had mixed feelings.
“Part of me is concerned, seeing fires and protests, but part of me is optimistic,” he said. “After 30 years of Mubarak, it’s nice to see people demonstrating for change, which looks like it’s eminent. Local Egyptians are genuinely excited that change is finally coming.”
Protests in Egypt against Mubarak’s rule are now in their fifth day.
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