Egyptians in NZ share in the joy

By Frances Morton

Mohamed Hassan with 4-year-old Omar Moharam. Photo / Janna Dixon
Mohamed Hassan with 4-year-old Omar Moharam. Photo / Janna Dixon

Egyptians in New Zealand are riding the same wave of ecstasy as their countrymen after weeks of protests forced an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

Mohamed Hassan, 22, a civil engineering student, said he had barely slept since the protests began on January 25 - spending nights glued to TV coverage.

Hassan spoke to family in Cairo yesterday morning after the president stepped down.

"They're incredibly happy," he said. "There are millions celebrating in the streets."

Aucklanders also took to the streets to mark the occasion, gathering in Aotea Square yesterday afternoon.

It was the third time the local Egyptian community had gathered in the square in the past month. After two protests, yesterday's gathering was a show of jubilation.

Hassan migrated to New Zealand with his family in 1997 to escape corruption, lack of human rights and a poor economy - the same issues that prompted the Egyptian people to rise up against Mubarak.

When it emerged the president had stepped down, Hassan immediately went online looking for plane tickets to his home country.

"I'm definitely hopeful that within the near future I'll be able to go back there and have a comfortable lifestyle," said Hassan.

University of Auckland senior law lecturer, Mohsen al Attar, 35, had a sleepless night talking to ecstatic relatives in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

- Herald on Sunday

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