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Clinton visits anti-government rallying site from Egyptian revolution

From Elise Labott, CNN
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Hillary Clinton visits Tahrir Square
  • NEW: The United States is pledging $90 million in emergency economic assistance
  • Tahrir Square is home to the demonstrations that led to the ouster of long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
  • Clinton's tour lasts less than 15 minutes

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a short tour of Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital on Wednesday.

During the anti-government demonstrations that eventually led to the ouster of long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the square was a rallying spot for protesters who transformed it from a bustling urban center into a fortified campground.

The walking tour lasted about 10 to 12 minutes, with crowds of people stopping her to shake her hand. She later met with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

"To see where this revolution happened and all that it has meant to the world is extraordinary for me," Clinton said. "It's just a great reminder of the power of the human spirit and universial desire for human rights and democracy. It's just thrilling to see where this happened."

On Tuesday, Clinton issued a strong statement of praise for Egypt's political revolution, declaring she was "deeply inspired" by the dramatic change and promising new assistance for America's longtime Middle East ally.

Clinton pledged $90 million in emergency economic assistance during a meeting in Cairo with Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby. She is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit Egypt since the overthrow of Mubarak.

"The United States will work to ensure that the economic gains Egypt has forged in recent years continue, and that all parts of Egyptian society benefit from these gains," a State Department statement noted.

While in the region, Clinton is also scheduled to visit neighboring Tunisia to express support for that country's revolt.