CAMBRIDGE, (CBS/AP) — Around 200 people have gathered in Harvard Square to peacefully protest against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and call for massive government reforms.
The demonstrators came Saturday as protesters in Egypt engulfed the country in five days of chaos and Mubarak fired his cabinet and named a vice president for the first time since coming to power nearly 30 years ago.
The Cambridge protesters waved Egyptian flags, held up signs and chanted for Mubarak to step down as they marched toward Boston. They also called on the Egyptian government to end its crackdown on cell phone and Internet services.
WBZ-TV Doug Cope reports from the protest in Cambridge.
Protesters said they were disturbed by images of clashes between protesters and police in Egypt.
On Friday night, Sen. John Kerry told CNN that he believes there can be a peaceful outcome in Egypt. He said President Mubarak needs to create a transition that works for the people, the region and avoids chaos. “I think they need to find a way forward in which he honors the legitimate demands of people,” the senator said.
The death toll for five days of protests has risen sharply since Friday to at least 62 with about 2,000 injured on both sides, according to security officials.
Sen. Kerry, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the cable network, “He (Mubarak) has been a great ally of the United States and a great ally of the peace process with Israel. His predecessor, Anwar Sadat, as we all know, was assassinated because he took risks. And Hosni Mubarak followed up on that process.”
Thousands of protesters defied the curfew for the second night Saturday, standing their ground in the main Tahrir Square in a resounding rejection of Mubarak’s attempt to hang onto power with promises of reform and a new government.
Sen. Kerry called President Mubarak a patriot, saying he cares about his country. “He’s been enormously helpful on so many issues that have never risen to public light that it would be a tragedy if he didn’t take this moment and really transform it.”
About 4,000 Egyptians live in Massachusetts.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)