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South Florida Egyptians Hope For The Best In Homeland

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Michael Gayed hopes the protests in Egypt will lead to change.

Michael Gayed hopes the protests in Egypt will lead to change.

MIAMI (CBS4) – As the anti-government revolt in Egypt enters its seventh day, Egyptian-Americans across the nation are praying for peace.

At St. John the Baptist Coptic Orthodox Church in Miramar, where most of the members are of Egyptian descent, Father Timothy Soliman and his congregation are hoping for the best.

“I hope what happened will bring freedom to the oppressed,” said Father Soliman. “We believe that all things work together for good, for those who are called by God and those who are loved by God.”

“I’m heartbroken because I see so much pain in people’s faces,” said congregation member Michael Gayed. “There’s so much heartbreak and so many problems. It’s not really helping too much. It’s just constant issues that aren’t being fixed.”

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are protesting in their homeland over high the unemployment rate, rising food prices, poverty and what they call torture at the hands of President Hosni Mubarak who has been in power for 30 years. Many Egyptians want him out.

On CBS’ Face the Nation over the weekend, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was careful not to take sides.

“What we are focused on now is a transition that will meet the needs of the Egyptian people and that will truly establish democracy,” said Clinton.

Meanwhile violent protests in the city of Suez, near the Suez Canal, are making investors nervous. The canal is a vital route for the transport of Middle East oil to the western world. On Friday, oil prices spiked 4.3 percent on fears that the canal might be closed. Roughly 3,500 oil tankers a year plus thousands of other cargo ships travel through the canal on their way from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the canal was shut down for eight years. A closure today would add 6,000 miles to trips as ships detour around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and risk the threat of attack by Somali pirates.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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