NEW YORK – Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of New York's famed Times Square and downtown Chicago Friday, calling for the immediate departure of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Protesters chanted "Mubarak must go" while waving Egyptian flags and holding placards that read "End US aid to the Mubarak regime" and "Egyptians united will never be defeated."
"I am here to tell to President Mubarak -- step down. Thirty years is enough," Ibrahim Musba, an Egyptian who lives in New York, told AFP. "He is a dictator but now everybody in Egypt is waking up. We need a democracy."
Bill Steyert, a veteran of the Vietnam war, said Mubarak "should go to hell."
"He is a damned dictator. He tortures opponents," said Steyert, 69. "He treated his people like puppets and didn't care for human rights."
Steyert added that it is "hypocritical" for the United States to provide financial aid to Mubarak.
In the freezing temperatures of New York, which was hit by yet another snow storm this past week, the protesters continued chanting anti-Mubarak slogans, with speakers taking turns improvising.
One Egyptian man, said to be an opera singer who lives in New York, belted out the Egyptian national anthem and was joined by others in the crowd.
Protestors also shivered in Chicago as they chanted "brick by brick, wall by wall we will see Mubarak fall" and "hey hey, ho ho, Hosni Mubarak has to go."
Dalia Ahmed, 35, waved a sign declaring "Chicago loves Egypt" and "Now means yesterday."
The daughter of Egyptian immigrants, Ahmed was worried about the safety of relatives who were braving the violence and taking to the streets of Cairo.
"We want them to have the same freedoms we have in the US," she told AFP.
"We want the violence to stop. We need to transition to a new government that supports freedom."
Nader Elrashidy, 33, painted his cheeks with the Egyptian flag in support of the revolution and in hopes that it will bring a true democracy.
"My family in Alexandria, all I hear is constant fear, sadness, insecurity," he said.
"The immediate desire is to regain stability, but there's an understanding that they need to endure this hopefully short-term suffering to achieve a greater benefit that generations will enjoy."