INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Chanting "one, two, three, Egypt is free," young Egyptians gathered Saturday in Indianapolis to celebrate the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and what they anticipate will be the arrival of democracy, liberty and prosperity in the Arab nation.
Ahmed Elessawy, 29, of Indianapolis said he left Egypt more than two years ago with his wife because he couldn't support a family there on a salary of no more than $500 per month working as a pharmacist. He's now a pharmacy intern and taking exams to earn his Indiana license.
"I had to leave Egypt," said Elessawy, the son of a retired deputy minister in the governments of Mubarak and his assassinated predecessor, Anwar Sadat. He said he hopes he can create a business that will let him work in both the U.S. and the Egypt, where he still has family in greater Cairo.
Elessawy was among about a dozen people who milled about Monument Circle at the heart of the Indianapolis, holding a red, white and black cardboard Egyptian flag and eating doughnuts as they watched the outdoor news ticker of a nearby radio station for the latest word from Egypt.
"Long live Egypt, long live liberty, long live democracy," they chanted. "The people, united, shall never be defeated."
Amna Awad, a 21-year-old philosophy student who spent her first 10 years in Egypt, said she organized the Indianapolis rally in solidarity with Egyptians on the streets of Cairo and other cities the last few weeks.
"To see this movement occurring is so inspiring, so motivational," said Awad, the daughter of Palestinian and Egyptian parents. "It gives you hope for the future."
Not all of the demonstrators were Egyptian. U.S. Army veteran Carl Rising-Moore, 64, of Indianapolis helped hold up a banner proclaiming "Veterans for Peace." He said he was protesting the $11 billion in U.S. military aid he said Egypt is scheduled to receive this year.
"They're the No. 2 beneficiary of our military foreign aid," behind only Israel, Rising-Moore said.