Protesters to stay in square 'as long as necessary'

Egyptians call on Israel to oppose Mubarak, say if support continues for leader, "we will start to hate Israel more and more."

February 2, 2011 01:20
2 minute read.
Egyptian protesters demonstrate

Egypt protest soldiers 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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CAIRO – As the Turkish foreign minister urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to listen to his people, on Tuesday afternoon demonstrator Ahmed Mustafa, an electrical engineer, said that this could be a perfect opportunity for Israel to change its image in the minds of Egyptians by urging Mubarak’s resignation.

“If Israel continues to support Mubarak, we will start to hate Israel more and more,” he said. “Israel has to give up. Now Israel is a friend of one man, of Mubarak, but tomorrow it needs to be a friend of 80 million.

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“I hear [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu is scared. He doesn’t need to be scared, he has nothing to fear,” Mustafa continued. “We’re not Iran and we don’t like Iran.”

Chants of “Allahu Akbar” mixed with “One, two, three – out, Mubarak, out!” volleyed across the square for hours.

But the demonstrators’ enthusiasm showed no signs of lagging in the afternoon and the crowds were tightly packed but polite, saying “excuse me” and “thank you” as the masses of humanity marched in circles and chanted together, waving homemade banners with rhyming slogans.

A few protesters carried posters with pictures of some of the dozens of people who were killed in the first few days of the protest.

A man named Khaled held a sign with a photo of his cousin, 31-year-old Anigh Abdul Al, who was killed by police on the second day of protests, January 26.

If Abdul Al could see Tahrir Square today, “I know he would feel honor and pride,” Khaled said.

He added that he felt like the loss of life has gotten lost in the larger story of political turmoil.

“I need people to understand what I felt when I lost my family,” Khaled said. “The news doesn’t show enough of what happened to the victims.”

As the sun set on liberation square, the crowds continued to chant. Some had brought blankets and backpacks full of food, preparing to stay as long as necessary.

“No more speaking, no more,” Mustafa said. “They have to do something!”

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