Global mobilization in support of Egyptian uprising

An Iraqi youth joins a protest calling for the ouster of Mubarak, occupied Baghdad, 30 January 2011. (AFP)


An international day of mobilization has been called for Saturday, 5 February in solidarity with the Egyptian and Tunisian people as they continue their popular uprisings.

According to a Facebook statement from Activists Against US Colonialism, a coalition of Middle East solidarity organizations, activists will be organizing protests world-wide “in front of parliament buildings, centers of power and collusion with the dictatorship regimes, and representative offices” (Facebook page: International day of solidarity with Egyptian and Tunisian peoples).

The statement adds “History speaks once. Now is our time. Now is our moment. We must take to the streets and stand in solidarity with the 80 million Egyptians whose cries have long been censored and silenced. Let’s make history and join the Egyptian and Tunisian people in the streets, across the Arab world and in the centers of power. If it was not for aid from the United States and Europe, these dictatorships would have fallen long ago.”

Meanwhile, solidarity actions in support of the self-determination of the Egyptian people took place in dozens of cities around the world this weekend.

United States

Washington, DC

Protesters filled the streets of the US capital on Friday and Saturday, holding rallies in front of the Egyptian embassy, NBC news reported. Hundreds waved Egyptian flags and denounced both the Mubarak regime and the Obama administration’s alliance with the Egyptian leader, NBC news reported (“Egyptian-Americans take to DC streets,” 29 January 2011).

Chicago

Approximately 1,500 protesters gathered in downtown Chicago on Saturday in an overwhelming show of solidarity with the Egyptian people. Standing in front of the Egyptian consulate, demonstrators called for an end to the Mubarak regime.

Representatives of the city’s Arab-American communities and members of activist, faith and community groups spoke to the crowd about the growing popular movements (an essay by The Electronic Intifada’s Maureen Clare Murphy is based on a speech she made at the rally). The protest and speakers were featured in a video posted to YouTube (“Chicago Rally for People of Egypt,” Labor Beat).

New York City

New Jersey’s The Star-Ledger reported that more than 1,000 demonstrators held a rally outside the United Nations building in Manhattan on Saturday, as many Egyptian-Americans called for Mubarak to step down (“Thousands gather near UN in New York to support anti-government protests in Egypt,” 29 January 2011).

Protesters held signs that read “Egyptian blood is our blood” and “Pharaoh, Pharaoh, let my people go,” reported The Star-Ledger.

Boston-Cambridge

A demonstration took place in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Saturday, in which hundreds of solidarity activists gathered in Harvard Square and marched to Boston to rally in support of the Egyptian people. The demonstrators included many Egyptian citizens attending universities in the Boston area.

The Boston Herald reported that Harvard University teaching assistant Soha Bayoumi said “We ask solidarity of peoples, not governments … The US should not be supporting a brutal military regime” as she showed reporters a photo of a tear gas canister stamped “Made in the USA” (“Advocates stage local rally to back protesters,” 30 January 2011).

Protesters chanted “not another nickel, not another dime, end US support for Mubarak’s crimes,” reported the Herald, and called on Americans to press Congress and the Obama administration to cut off US aid to Egypt until Mubarak steps down.

San Francisco

Hundreds demonstrated at the UN Plaza in downtown San Francisco on Saturday afternoon, waving Egyptian flags and calling for the Mubarak regime to end.

Political science lecturer and blogger As’ad AbuKhalil reported that “Palestinian, Tunisian, Egyptian and US flags mixed together. I carried one sign. It said: ‘Mubarak Totters, Zionists weep’ ” (“Protest in San Francisco,” 29 January 2011).”

Similar protests were held in Tampa, Seattle, Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Portland, Houston, Blacksburg, Norfolk,Madison, Detroit, Minneapolis, Jersey City, Queens-Astoria and Los Angeles. The protests were organized quickly, with activists using social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Canada

Toronto’s CTV News reported that hundreds of protesters gathered in solidarity with Egyptians on Saturday afternoon in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square. People called for the removal of Mubarak as well as political reform, CTV reported (“Toronto rally echoes calls for reform in Egypt,” 29 January 2011).

Other protests took place in Montreal and Ottowa.

Venezuela

The Wall Street Journal reported that Venezuelans of Egyptian descent attempted to take over the Egyptian embassy in Caracas on Friday, but agreed to leave the building after Venezuela’s foreign minister intervened (“Egypt embassy in Venezuela sees shortlived protest - Chavez,” 28 January 2011).

In a televised speech, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stated that it was the state’s obligation to protect foreign embassies, but “[the protesters] wanted to express their position.”

Europe

Thousands of protesters filled the streets of London on Saturday, combining protests against local cuts to education services with solidarity rallies in support of the Egyptian people.

MorningStar News reported that young Egyptians led chants urging Mubarak to resign, adding that daily protests have been held outside the Egyptian consulate in London since the uprising began on 25 January (“Solidarity by the thousand: protesters take to the streets of London,” 30 January 2011).

Other protests took place at the Egyptian embassies in The Hague, Netherlands and in Dublin, Ireland, where Egyptian and Irish demonstrators called for an end to the Mubarak regime and stood in solidarity with the Egyptian people. Al Jazeera English published a video from the Dublin protest (“Protesters demonstrate at Egyptian embassy in Dublin”). Protests were also held in France, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Italy and Germany.

Middle East

Turkey

Al Jazeera reported that more than 200 protesters demonstrated outside the Fatih mosque in downtown Istanbul on Friday, calling for regime change in Egypt (“Egypt supporters rally worldwide,” 28 January 2011).

Another protest was held in Ankara, Al Jazeera reported.

Tel Aviv, Kfar Yassif and Haifa

The Israeli daily Yedioth Aharnot (Ynet) reported that several demonstrations took place as Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and solidarity supporters denounced the Mubarak regime (“Arab Israelis back Egyptian protesters,” 29 January 2011).

Approximately two dozen protesters in Tel Aviv held a rally outside the Egyptian embassy, while hundreds demonstrated in the Palestinian village of Kfar Yassif in the Galilee region. Palestinian members of the Israeli parliament joined the demonstration and “expressed their solidarity with Arab nations,” added Ynet.

“In Haifa, dozens of [Palestinian] residents accompanied by leftist activists gathered for a protest and held up communist, Palestinian and Tunisian flags,” Ynet reported. “The demonstrators chanted slogans in support of the Egyptian uprising while slamming President Mubarak and [Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Earlier in the day, approximately 800 demonstrators took to the streets in Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, against increased racism towards the city’s Palestinian community and the expansion of Jewish-only housing. Joseph Dana, a journalist and contributor to The Electronic Intifada, reported on his blog that protesters held Egyptian flags and were energized by the protests taking place in Egypt (“From Jaffa to Cairo all people power is revolutionary,” 29 January 2011).

Ramallah, occupied West Bank

Palestinian Authority security forces shutdown a small solidarity protest in Ramallah yesterday and questioned organizers of the action that took place in front of the Egyptian embassy building, Ma’an News Agency reported (
Police ban Egypt solidarity rally in Ramallah,” 31 January 2011).

PA forces reportedly pushed demonstrators and confiscated journalists’equipment, according to Ma’an. Women demonstrators told Ma’an that they convinced “three policemen to release a demonstrator they had seized and dragged away when he shouted ‘Long live Egypt!’” and that PA police dispersed the protest one hour later, claiming that the protest was held without permission from the PA. Organizers of the protest claimed there “were orders that no event related to Tunisia or Egypt was allowed at this time.” Human Rights Watch called on the PA to stop its “arbitrary interference with peaceful demonstrations,” Maan added.

Beirut, Lebanon

The Los Angeles Times reported that several hundred demonstrators rallied in front of the Egyptian embassy in Beirut on Saturday in a show of solidarity with the Egyptian protest movement (“Lebanon: Protesters at embassy support Egyptians against regime,” 29 January 2011).

Protesters held signs depicting Hosni Mubarak as a pawn of Israel and the US, the Times added. Thirty-year-old Seif Hisham told reporters that protesting was “the least we could do … I think we’re witnessing a new dawn in the Arab world, and it’s not a false dawn.”

Amman, Jordan

In Jordan, thousands of people demonstrated in downtown Amman on 28 January, in what have become weekly protests called by opposition parties to demand democratic reforms. Many speakers made statements in solidarity with the people of Egypt. The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah, who witnessed the demonstration, said that many protestors shouted “Hosni Mubarak the airplane is waiting to take you away!” and other slogans echoing those heard from the people of Egypt. Also in Amman, dozens of people held a smaller protest outside the Egyptian embassy later in the day.

Syria

Agence France Presse reported that several dozen Syrian artists, former political prisoners, activists and opposition figures signed a public statement “saluting” the revolution in Tunisia and the popular uprising in Egypt (“Syrian activists salute Tunisia, Egypt uprisings,” Ma’an News Agency, 30 January 2011).

The statement read: “The Arab people have found their route to freedom, namely peaceful, nonviolent social resistance uniting the population against those who repress it and steal its wealth.”

The statement added that Syrians “also aspire to justice and freedom … This revolution has shown Arabs how closely Tunisia resembles their own countries, where power and wealth are concentrated in the same hands, and where repression and the plundering of the public purse go hand-in-hand.”

Solidarity rallies and protests inspired by Egypt were also held in Tunisia, Yemen and Iraq.

Australia

The Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported on Sunday that approximately 150 individuals, including many Egyptian-Australians, held a “boisterous but peaceful” protest in Sydney’s Hyde Park, demanding the ouster of Hosni Mubarak (“Australian-Egyptians tell Mubarak to go,” 30 January 2011).

Australian Egyptian Friendship Association spokesperson Omar Mustafa told AAP that the protesters “all want the same thing; they want Mubarak out.”

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