U of M students rally to support Egypt protesters

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More than 50 people gathered in front of Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota Friday to show support and solidarity with the Egyptian people who are protesting against their government.

Street demonstrations in Egypt are aimed at toppling the authoritarian government of Hosni Mubarak.

At the U of M, supporters waved the flag of Egypt and held signs that read "Stop supporting Mubarak regime" and "Revolution against dictatorship."

"Down with Pharoah," they chanted. "Oppression must stop."

University of Minnesota student Ansam El-Shiakh, 33, said she hasn't been able to reach her family in Egypt for three days, and she's very worried.

"I cannot contact my family because their cell phones are not working," she said.

Egyptian officials have blocked Twitter and Facebook, and cut off most of the Internet and cell phone services.

El-Shiakh, who came to Minnesota from Egypt 15 months ago, has lived most of her life under Mubarak's rule, which she described his rule as "clear injustice."

"I hope he goes away, because we don't need him," said an emotional El-Shiakh. She said in Egypt, you will lose all "your human dignity."

Ahmed Eldawy, 28, is a computer science PhD student who moved to Minnesota from Egypt five months ago. He said he wished he was in Egypt today to participate in what is happening in Alexandria, his hometown. He said this current uprising in Egypt "will definitely change the politics in the country."

"It is the voice of the people, inspired by the people, for the people," said Sameh Hozayen, a cardiologist and a researcher at the University of Minnesota.

"It is time to have a better life in Egypt," he said. "This has never happened before and I am glad I can express my opinion here."