Augustans celebrate Egypt uprising

Members and friends of Augusta's Egyptian-American community gathered in a west Augusta park Sunday to celebrate the uprising that led to the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak.

"We are very excited, definitely," said Dr. Emad Francis, a learning specialist at Hephzibah High School who was born in Egypt. "We are meeting today to celebrate a new era in Egypt, supporting Egyptians for standing for a new election."

Earlier Sunday, military rulers took action to dismantle the authoritarian regime that gripped the country for nearly 30 years under Mubarak's rule, dissolving its parliament, suspending the constitution and promising elections.

Nahla Swedan, who was among the few dozen people who gathered at Brookfield Park, said she had initially been skeptical that the uprising would succeed after seeing others fail.

"It's incredible," said Swedan, the chairwoman of humanities at Georgia Military College. "The first couple of days, I thought it was one of those things, but they stayed and they stayed their ground. It was so inspiring."

Francis said he knew from the start that the uprising would be a success.

"Egyptians are the people of the country, not Mubarak," he said. "They deserve a new democratic regime, and they will get it."

Magdi Idries is a native of Sudan, but his mother is Egyptian and he studied at a university in Cairo before coming to the United States.

While visiting the country in June, he saw people suffering.

"Everything is controlled by people who are very close to the government," Idries said. "Now I can see the change. It's going to get better, and they're going to change everything, by the way."

Associated Press reports were used in this story.