Chicagoan in Egypt rallies with protesters

January 28, 2011 8:31:27 PM PST
An uprising in Egypt intensifies as protesters risk their lives to demand that embattled president Hosni Mubarak step down.

The demonstrators are fighting for a more democratic government and their concerns are shared worldwide, including Chicago.

The uprising has been dangerous but that hasn't been a deterrent for a Chicago man in the middle of it.

It's an historic moment in Egypt and Chicagoan Ahmed Rehab is there, protesting alongside the Egyptian people.

"Today was a day of great significance in my life and in the lives of many Egyptians, the likes we've never seen, and the likes I'll probably never see again," Rehab said.

In Chicago, Rehab oversees the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Since the internet is down in Egypt, Rehab dictated his blog entry to staff members here. It's his way of telling the world what's happening.

"We did this for dignity and freedom for the world to know that Egyptians are a proud people and sooner or later want democracy. It's been a long time coming," Rehab said.

Cherif Bassiouni knows the history. Bassiouni is now a DePaul University law professor but he served in the Egyptian Army and earned medals under President Anwar Sadat, and later, President Hosni Mubarak.

"He is the issue. He's more symbolically the issue than anything else and, of course, as the leader he has to bear the responsibility of it," Bassiouni said about Mubarak.

Egyptian protestors want Mubarak out, and in solidarity with them, local demonstrators will rally in Chicago Saturday, offering their support.

"We are here. We are with you. We want to support you any way we can and make sure our message is heard all the way around the world," said Islam Eldewek with the Egyptian Americans for Democracy.

Local organizers expect hundreds of people at Saturday's afternoon rally. It will be at the Egyptian Consulate on Michigan Avenue.

Organizers want to send a message to Egypt but also want it to resonate in Washington D.C.

Local organizers say President Barack Obama needs to support the Egyptian people and speak out for democracy.