Cairo Protestors Say US Is Hedging Its Bets

Jan 31, 2011 1:17pm

ABC News’ Alexander Marquardt reports from the streets of Cairo that many protestors are expressing disappointment in the Obama administration, believing the U.S. to be hedging its bets and not backing the forces of democracy in the streets of Egypt. The U.S. “must tell him (President Mubarak) frankly to go,” Ayman, an Egyptian journalist, told Marquardt. “Go at once. The United States should choose between the Egyptian people and Mubarak. Mubarak will leave, today or tomorrow. But the Egyptian people will stay forever. They must be with us, frankly.” ABC News’ Katie Hinman took this photo in Cairo today – it seems to owe a little something to President Obama’s rhetoric from 2008, if not 2009.                   Said Mohammed Makhlouf, an Egyptian-Canadian businessman, “the anger that has always been expressed by us for the last 30 years has been summarily ignored. Unfortunately heavily supported by the United States and Europe to a large measure. Now the world needs to realize they can no longer deal with Egypt through the person of a president, they are dealing with the people of Egypt. And this is indeed a home grown revolution.” Makhlouf said President Obama is “in a difficult position and I understand that. The United States cannot be seen to be pulling the plug on an ally just like that. I understand. But these people need a firmer position from the United States so the United States can count on this alliance in the long-term. This has no turning back. This is what the world will have to deal with when it comes to Egypt. So the United States had better now align itself with the people. It has the opportunity. Nobody here dislikes the United States per se, just the policy. If Mr. Obama take the advantage now he will gain lots of popularity. Right now. And it is an opportunity.” On June 4, 2009, President Obama came to Cairo University, where he said “all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere.” The president said “government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who would hold power: You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.” We’ll have more on this on ABC News’ World News with Diane Sawyer this evening. Watch below for Alex’s report from Egypt on Good Morning America: -Jake Tapper, Alexander Marquardt, and Katie Hinman

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