Chicago's Egyptian-Americans angry over leader's speech

Mubarak declines to step down

February 10, 2011

By Odette Yousef

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(Flickr/Chris Murphy)
An Egyptian solidarity protest in Chicago on January 29, 2011.

Egyptian-Americans in Chicago are shocked by the announcement Thursday that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak intends to finish out the rest of his term. Many, including Chicago resident Mohamed Okda, expected the 30-year ruler of Egypt to signal his immediate resignation in an address to the country Thursday. Okda said he spent the day glued to his computer, watching Egyptian television online. “I'm very angry. I'm very disappointed,” said Okda. “Everyone was waiting for our country to change, and he did not deliver that.”

Mubarak also failed to call for an end to decades of martial law in Egypt. Okda said he had hoped for at least that much, so that he could finally return to Egypt after ten years of exile in the United States. Okda said he fled Egypt after his pro-democracy activities in Egypt landed him in trouble with authorities. He and other Egyptian-Americans in Chicago said they are now worried that Mubarak's insistence to remain in office could spur violence in the streets of Egypt.