LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – The biggest rally in Cairo, Egypt in the 12-day crisis took place on Tuesday. Thousands of protestors flooded into Tahrir Square again and the old regime proved it remains tone deaf.
Egypt’s vice president said the country wasn’t ready for democracy, that the regime couldn’t put up with continued protests, and that there will be no ending of the regime.
The White House says Vice President Joe Biden called Egypt’s vice president to push for faster progress.
There are people in Colorado watching the crisis with special interest. One of them is a man in Longmont named Steve Collins. He got out of Egypt last week as the calls for democracy grew louder and daily life grew harder. Collins sells Egyptian imports at a shop in Longmont.
“Mainly I’m really proud of what the people are doing,” Collins said.
Collins has been working in Egypt, helping to stock a new store at the Cairo Museum with Egyptian-made goods. He’s still learning details about happened when the museum store was ransacked.
“I still don’t know who got in. I mean the popular story is maybe it was criminals and police, some version of those,” Collins said. “Some people got inside the museum and our store. And as the story goes, as far as I know, it was the protestors that caught them and kept them there and turned them over to the army.
He has understood both sides but supports the protestors.
“I certainly understand the government’s standpoint, the economy turns on tourism and if there’s any kind of terrorist activity in Egypt the tourism just disappears and the economy just shrivels up.”
But 30 years of emergency law under Hosni Mubarek have weighed heavily on people who learn a lot about the outside world and what’s possible from those visiting tourists.
Collins believes the protestors will accept nothing less than real change and can stick with it until they get it.
“The main goal of this protest and demonstration is their own personal freedom and dignity. And to them and to the rest of the world democracy is a symbol of that.”
Collins said he’ll go back to Egypt again to help get the new museum store open again when things settle down.