In Tampa demonstrators rally in solidarity with Egyptian people

01/31/11 Seán Kinane
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Egypt State TV says President Hosni Mubarak has sworn in a new Cabinet, following days of massive demonstrations calling for him to step down. An opposition figure, Mohamed ElBaradei joined protesters in Tahrir Square in Cairo yesterday. He called for Mubarak’s ouster.

The news network Al Jazeera English says six of its journalists have been released from custody, but their equipment was confiscated, after Egyptian authorities ordered their Cairo office closed.

Obama administration officials tell the Associated Press the United States is pressuring Mubarak to institute a set of key reforms, including presidential elections in September. But the U.S. is not asking for what the protesters are demanding, Mubarak to step down.

Protests continued today, even after a curfew, but tomorrow, millions of people are expected to take to the streets in Cairo and around the country.

On Saturday in Tampa, more than 60 people lined two corners of a busy intersection to show solidarity with the Egyptian people. A woman named Mona, who would only give her first name, said she has lived in Tampa for 10 years after moving from Egypt.

On Saturday, Mubarak appointed a vice president, Omar Suleiman, and former Air Force commander Ahmed Shafiq to be prime minister. Suleiman is Egypt’s former intelligence chief and played an important role in the U.S. extraordinary rendition program.

Mona doesn’t think these so-called reforms go far enough.

Mona’s ten-year-old daughter, Sarah, also participated in Saturday’s demonstration on the corner of Dale Mabry and Kennedy.

A woman who gave her name only as Rhonda lives in St Pete but is originally from Egypt. She calls Mubarak’s cabinet changes the “same regime, different faces.”

Yasin ElMinshawy lives in Tampa, but is from Egypt.

Chris Ernesto, an organizer with the justice and anti-war group St. Pete for Peace, is not from Egypt, but still came out in solidarity with demonstrators in the North African country.

more photos from Tampa rally

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