Omar Sharif says Mubarak fears humiliation

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Egyptian film actor Omar Sharif said Tuesday that President Hosni Mubarak was clinging onto power because he did not want to be "humiliated", while talk of democracy in his country was "wonderful".

The international star, 78, told the BBC he did not forecast bloodshed in Egypt, while the only "danger" from the uprising was the impact that ousting Mubarak might have on ties with the United States and neighbour Israel.

"Mr Mubarak is very stubborn about not leaving. He doesn't want to be humiliated and so it's a difficult situation. I don't know how it's going to end," the Oscar nominee said.

"Most Egyptian people, if they're going to vote, will vote against Mr Mubarak, I am sure. They have put it in their minds that they don't want him any more, they're fed up with it and they want new people.

"I don't think there will be bloodshed at all. I think the young people who have protested are very nice and they're not violent people at all. They did it absolutely beautifully.

"How long it will last is the important thing."

Sharif, who has starred in films such as "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) and "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), said the uprising was "so unexpected".

"I'm very happy to see that the young people have become serious about all this and they're working very hard to get whatever they want, which is to get Mubarak out of the whole country.

"However, the only problem I think is going to be whether we will still have the help of the Americans and the Israelis. This is the only danger of this whole thing. Otherwise, I'm 100 percent for the young people."

Born in 1932 in Egypt's second city, the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, Sharif said he could not have imagined such a revolt.

"They want a real democracy, which is wonderful because they had never thought of democracy before. I had never heard anyone in Egypt speak of democracy," he said.

"And now they are speaking about it and they're very serious about it and I'm encouraging them to do that."

Massive tides of protesters flooded Cairo and Alexandria on Tuesday for the biggest outpouring of anger yet on day eight of a drive to oust Mubarak's regime.

© 2011 AFP

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