SoCal Activists React to "New Day in Egypt" - NBC Southern California

SoCal Activists React to "New Day in Egypt"

"Today, my tears are tears of joy. It is a new day in Egypt"



    SoCal Activists React to "New Day in Egypt"

    Opponents of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak celebrated in Southern California Friday morning after word that the country's leader would step down.

    "The dictatorship is gone," Tawfieq Mousa, 48, an Arab-American activist who has organized protests here, told the OC Register. "I am proud that this powerful, peaceful movement has led to the fall of a dictator. Yesterday, I was near tears when (Mubarak) refused to leave.

    "Today, my tears are tears of joy. It is a new day in Egypt."

    The Register reported that one Mousa-organized protest attracted about 200 people in Anaheim. He owns a business in Garden Grove.

    At 5 p.m. Friday, Orange County residents of Egyptian heritage will  celebrate the resignation Mubarak in the  Little Arabia neighborhood of Anaheim. The celebration will on Brookhurst  Street between Orange Avenue and Broadway.

    Mubarak's departure came after a day of disappointment for some Egyptians in Southern Californian.

    Egyptians who live in Southern California are paying close attention to events in their homeland. Ayman Mahfouz told NBCLA Thursday that he could practically taste victory -- that taste turned sour.

    News reports indicated Thursday morning that Mubarak was resigning. Mahfouz showed his pride by walking the streets of West Los Angeles with an Egyptian flag draped over his shoulders.

    "When he is gone, Egypt will be -- in just a few years -- an economic superpower," Mahfouz said.

    But contrary to early reports, Mubarak did not announce his resignation -- just that he was conferring some of his powers to his vice president.

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    Patrons at the Habibi Café in Westwood watched the Mubarak speech Thursday on giant TV screens. The owner, Egyptian-born Mostafa Said, said he was not surprised by Mubarak's intransigence.

    "Mubarak is a stubborn man," Said remarked. "This is known for 30 years. He does not listen to anybody but Mubarak."

    Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, introduced a House Resolution today  expressing solidarity with the people of Egypt.

    "We stand by the Egyptian people in their call for democracy,  opportunity and an end to corruption," Schiff said.

    The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights  organization, also commended the Egyptian people's "courageous and non-violent  transformation of their country.

    Wiesenthal Center Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper said in a joint  statement that the Egyptian revolution could mark the beginning of a new era  for the Middle East.

    The Answer Coalition, a Los Angeles human rights organization, also  applauded the events of the past 18 days.

    "There has been a mass outpouring of support for the Egyptian people's  revolution across Los Angeles," said the coalition's Muna Coobtee. "Not only  did hundreds of Egyptian Americans come out in protest, but (also) hundreds of  Angelenos from all nationalities. But the struggle is not over.

    "This is a people's victory, but the people have vowed to continue to  protest until all of their demands are won,'' she said. ``We will support them  every step of the way."