Egyptian students take part in rally

When a rebellion against the Egyptian government erupted Jan. 25 in Cairo, similar protests began cropping up throughout the world even in Bulls Country.

Tampa residents, representing a wide array of ethnicities and beliefs, held a protest Friday evening on the corner of Fowler Avenue and 56th Street that called for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign. Among them were three USF students and cousins who came on behalf of their families in Egypt.

Sally Soltau, a senior majoring in business management, said her dad and sister came to Tampa during the clash between the Egyptian soldiers and anti-government protestors. Her mom had to stay behind in Alexandria last week.

There was so much she had to take care of before she left so they had to leave her behind, she said. Its really sad. We have so many (pet) dogs there that we dont know what to do. She plans on coming (this) week.

Even though her mother was not able to come to Tampa, Soltau said she has remained in contact with her family who are remaining indoors, away from the violence.

Its always good to have everyone you know come together to speak up for what they believe in and to want justice for your country, she said.

Egyptians began protesting Mubaraks reign by flooding Tahrir Square in Cairo, demanding that he resign from his position before their presidential elections this fall. Though the protests were initially peaceful, things turned violent Feb. 2 when Mubarak supporters began mixing with the protestors.

The protests and subsequent violence have subsided, according to the Washington Post. On Sunday, leading members of opposition groups agreed to meet with Mubaraks vice president Omar Suleiman, to discuss potential changes to the Egyptian government and a more gradual removal from office near the September elections.

According to CBS, protestors are demanding his removal because of the high cost of living and failed economic principals of the country. About 40 percent of the 80 million people in Egypt live on $2 or less a day. Food inflation is about 17 percent per year and unemployment was at 10 percent before the political riot began, which initiated the conflict between citizens and government.

When Suzanne Soltau, a freshman majoring in mass communications, first heard of the protests she said she feared for the citizens safety.

(I wasnt) sad or depressed. I was scared. I feared for the people over there, she said. Its really sad and something should change and something should be different. I love them and support them.

Reem Darwish, a senior majoring in psychology, also showed her support for the protestors. She said her dad is still in Cairo near where the protests originated last month.

I think that (Mubarak) needs to step down. Theyve been protesting for a whole week, she said. They had to put up with him for 30 years and they are not going to wait for September for him to step down.

The idea of holding a similar protest in the Tampa area came from various community leaders and local mosques, said Ramzy Kilic, communications director for the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

He said that while the protest itself was not partisan, most of the attendees sided with the anti-Mubarak protestors.

You see the majority (of the protestors are) anti-government and for revolution and freedom and democracy and against the dictatorship, he said. I think they are history-making. Its always wonderful being a part of a country that revolted. We had a revolution of our own for freedom and democracy, and were witnessing that in Egypt.

Kilic said they do not know when they will hold their next protest. The event on Friday was a result of the pro-Mubarak and anti-Mubarak bloody clash where CNN reports there were five deaths and more than 800 wounded.

We want to show the world we do stand with Egypt, Kilic said. We are going to continue doing this until the demands of the protestors have been met until the dictator is out of power.

TEHRAN, IRAN Brazils president met with Iranian leaders Sunday to try to broker a compromise in the international standoff over Tehrans nuclear program, even as the U.S. says new sanctions are the only way to force Irans cooperation.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is trying to use Brazils friendly relations with Iran to show it can be a fair, neutral broker in the escalating dispute. Since evidence of a clandestine Iranian nuclear program first emerged in 2003, negotiations with world powers and visits by U.N. inspectors have failed to persuade the U.S. and its allies that Iran is not pursuing a weapons capability.

Washington has taken a hard line, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last week that the Brazilian leaders efforts might be the last chance to avoid sanctions.

Silva is reportedly trying to revive a U.N.-backed proposal in which Iran would ship its stockpile of enriched uranium abroad to be processed further and returned as fuel rods for a medical research reactor.

Its more difficult for someone who has nuclear weapons to ask someone not to develop nuclear weapons, Silva said in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV on Saturday. Its easier for someone who does not carry nuclear weapons, like myself, to ask for that.

Like Brazil, Turkey is trying to bring Tehran back to the negotiating table. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested Sunday before departing for Tehran to join talks on Irans nuclear program that the uranium swap could take place in Turkey.

We will find the opportunity to start the swap process. That is why I am leaving, he told reporters. If the swap is going to take place in Turkey, we thought we should be there, too. We have heard that a clause is being added.

God willing, we will find the opportunity to overcome the problem, he said.

On Sunday, Silva met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Irans supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but the leaders did not make any public statement about the nuclear issue.

Instead the Iranians focused on mutual relations and praised Brazil for maintaining its independence in a world dominated by a few countries.

Iran and Brazil are two emerging powers, and many of the worlds future issues will depend on how these two countries interact, Ahmadinejad said. Brazil and Iran belong to the future while the system of domination (led by the U.S.) belongs to the past.

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