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World actions show solidarity with Egyptian uprising

Published Jan 31, 2011 9:45 PM

Jan. 30 — Activists and progressives around the world took to the streets in many cities to show their support for the protests currently underway in Egypt and to join the call for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

At solidarity rally in Istanbul, Turkey.

Outside the Egyptian embassy in London, people rallied, chanted, hoisted banners and demanded change. One banner read, “Arab puppet rulers must go!” A sign, written in red ink, read, “From the Nile, to the Sea — Egypt soon will be free! Freedom for Egypt!” Demonstrators chanted: “One, two, three, four, we don’t want Mubarak any more!”

“People were clearly voicing their anger at President Mubarak’s regime, but similarly they were also very passionate about their demands for democracy and political reforms,” said Amedeo d’Amore at the London protest. (CNN, Jan 29)

Rafik Bedair, a doctor from Manchester, Great Britain, said, “Our point is to show some solidarity with the people demonstrating in Egypt. We’re calling for Mubarak to go, for people to get their freedom. The speech [he made] yesterday was just an extension of the promises we have been hearing for the past 30 years.” (Reuters, Jan. 29)

Protesters took to the streets in other cities throughout Europe. In Geneva they shouted slogans in Arabic, French and English. They chanted, “Get out, Mubarak!” according to Courtney Radsch, who participated in the demonstration. A video showed a crowd of people carrying signs that read, “Freedom. Social Justice. Democracy” and “Free Egypt.”

In The Hague, Netherlands, demonstrators held signs reading “Out Mubarak” and “Freedom for Egypt” in front of the International Court of Justice.

In Berlin demonstrators gathered around the Egyptian embassy. One sign they held up read, “Say no to torture in Egypt — stop police violence.” A demonstrator said, “Of course we want to help our brothers in Egypt; that’s why we’re here. All of us Muslims and Egyptians in Germany are behind you. We demand that Hosni Mubarak steps down and leaves after 30 years. He’s brought down the country and we support our brothers in Egypt.” (euronews, Jan. 28)

Demonstrations also took place in cities throughout Canada. Ahmed Khalifa, who helped organize the Toronto protest, said he was encouraged by the protests in Egypt and stressed their significance. “We are witnessing a great change in history,” he told CTV. “We are watching Egyptian people and Middle Eastern people telling us that ‘we want freedom.’” (Jan. 29)

In Auckland, New Zealand, protesters demonstrated in front of the U.S. consulate demanding that the U.S. pressure Mubarak, its “ally,” to step down.

Solidarity in Middle East

In Turkey hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside the Fatih Mosque in central Istanbul after Friday prayers to make their voices heard in support of the Egyptian cause.

Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera correspondent in Turkey, said the mosque had become a focal point for activism since Israeli commandos raided a Turkish ship in the Freedom Flotilla headed to Gaza last May. “It is very much the organizations that we saw rise to prominence following the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara that have taken to the streets today to lend their voices in solidarity with the Egyptians.” (Jan. 28) A simultaneous rally was held in Ankara, Turkey’s capital city.

Tunisians demonstrated outside the Egyptian embassy in Tunis, brandishing placards with slogans reading “Mubarak Out!” and “Freedom.”

“We are here to say that the Tunisian people are behind the Egyptian people. They have suffered in the way that we suffered. It’s time for change,” Monia Mechri, one of the protesters, told AFP news service. (reported by AJ, Jan. 28).

The Progressive Democratic Party, a former opposition group that has now joined Tunisia’s interim government, said Egypt had “called in the hour of change for an end to injustice and dictatorship.” Their Jan. 28 statement as reported in Al Jazeera, said, “The Egyptian people supported the Tunisian people’s revolution. Our heart is with you and our voices never cease to pray for victory.”

Ahmed, a blogger and activist at the rally, told Al Jazeera that what has happened in Egypt is “very great” and that “now democracy will be ... one effect in the Arabic world.” (Jan. 28)

Even in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where demonstrations are rare, protests have been held in front of the Egyptian embassy.