Since major protests against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak began on Jan. 25, solidarity demonstrations have taken place across the United States and around the world. Following is a round-up of protests that took place Feb. 2-6 in U.S. cities.
More than 7,000 people gathered in San Francisco’s UN Plaza as part of the Feb. 5 International Day of Solidarity with the People of Egypt and Tunisia. People from many Middle Eastern and North African countries and their supporters filled the square carrying the flags of Egypt and Tunisia, as well as those of Palestine, Algeria and Iraq. The aim was simple: to show that people around the world stand with the protesters in Egypt and support their demand that Hosni Mubarak and his government leave immediately.
Chants such as “Down, down with Mubarak!” and “Oh Mubarak, can’t you see, time to join Ben Ali!” echoed about the plaza and all down the march route that traveled past City Hall, down Market St., and around the Federal Building. Speakers highlighted the courageous struggles of the people across the Arab world against their U.S. client-state “leaders.” The protest in San Francisco coincided with the time that thousands of Egyptians would be spending another night in Tahrir Square amidst the tanks, tear gas canisters and broken Molotov cocktails.
“People have come together not just to liberate themselves from dictatorship … but also from oppression by U.S. imperialism. It is a true testament of what people can do when they come together. It is Egyptians who are building their future and we support that,” said Frank Lara of the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism).
Many spoke about the powerful result that may be coming from the toppling of these dictators and recognized the role the United States has played in the funding of Mubarak and the Egyptian army.
As one Tunisian student speaker said: “We have hope … that we ourselves will decide our future.”
We will continue to stand in solidarity with all peoples fighting to free themselves from oppression and U.S. imperialism, and end U.S. domination in the region.
Sponsors of the demonstration included the ANSWER Coalition, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Berkeley Egyptian Students Association, Berkeley Muslim Students Association, Berkeley Students for Justice in Palestine, Cafe Intifada, CODEPINK Women for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace - Bay Area, Middle East Children's Alliance, San Jose Peace & Justice Center, South Bay Mobilization, Stanford Says No War, Stanford Students Confronting Apartheid and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network.
As the brave people of Egypt continue their struggle to get President Hosni Mubarak to step down immediately, hundreds of supporters in Washington, D.C. gathered on Feb. 5 to show their solidarity. Despite the rain and cold temperature, supporters marched from the Egyptian Embassy to the White House, and some remained overnight at the White House to show unity with protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Many supporters traveled for hours by bus to make the demonstration. Anwar Saleh, 19, came all the way from Toledo, Ohio. Saleh, a Libyan American, said marches like the one in D.C. and all across the world were important not only to show solidarity with the people of Egypt. He stressed that it’s a duty of people living in countries where there is a less overt suppression of freedom of speech to use that freedom to help others. “We can’t ignore it what’s happening. We have to talk about Egypt over here too.”
Husam Odeh, 19, a Palestinian American, also from Toledo, Ohio, believes the struggle doesn’t just begin and end with Egypt. “We have to speak out not only for Egypt, but for other countries in the Arab world, anywhere where people are suffering.”
Other supporters believe people in the United States need to care about the struggle in Egypt not only to show solidarity to a struggling people, but also because of U.S. involvement with that country—which amounts to over $2 billion in “assistance” each year. “That’s a lot of money that we could use for people in the United States. So yes, what’s happenings in Egypt does concern us over here,” Zaynab Khirtan, 17, said. Khirtan, who is half Jordanian, came from Flint, Mich. to attend the protest. Many protesters carried signs with messages demanding the United States end aid to Egypt.
Throughout the march in D.C., protesters chanted “From the Nile to the sea, Egypt, Egypt will be free,” with many proudly waving the Egyptian flag. A few protesters also carried the Tunisian flag. For now, the revolutions in Tunisia and struggle in Egypt have not only sparked a chain reaction in Arab countries, they have also been an inspiration to people looking to end oppression all over the world.
Protests in front of the White House and Egyptian Embassy have taken place on almost every day since Jan. 28.
Over 500 people demonstrated at the Federal Building on Feb. 5 in Los Angeles to show solidarity and support for the people of Egypt and their struggle to end the Mubarak dictatorship. The protest had widespread support from the local Egyptian and Arab-American community, along with students, anti-war activists and other solidarity activists that attended the demonstration. Two buses of came all the way from Las Vegas, N.V. to attend the rally.
The atmosphere of the protest was one of unity and support of the massive people’s uprising in Egypt. Protesters chanted in English and Arabic: “The people will prevail--send Mubarak straight to jail!” and “Down, down, Hosni Mubarak!”
The ANSWER Coalition provided logistical support for the event, and many other anti-war and progressive organizations came out in solidarity. ANSWER organizer Muna Coobtee spoke, as did March Forward! co-founder Mike Prysner.
This is the second weekend that solidarity protests happened in Los Angeles. There were four demonstrations over the weekend to show support for the popular uprising. Protest organizer and Egyptian American activist Mohamed Kolkela said: "Protests will continue in Los Angeles and nationwide until Hosni Mubarak resigns and the people of Egypt are given our right to self-determination and national sovereignty."
Three hundred protestors braved the frigid temperatures in Chicago on Feb. 4 in a show of solidarity with the Egyptian people and their revolutionary uprising against the U.S.-backed Mubarak regime. The demonstrators chanted loudly, “Brick by brick, wall by wall! We will see Mubarak fall!” and “Hey hey, ho ho, Hosni Mubarak has to go!”
Members of Chicago’s Egyptian, Arab and Muslim communities, along with numerous progressives and community activists, came out in response to the repressive tactics of the Mubarak regime against the Egyptian masses. Chicago members of the ANSWER Coalition brought placards and chants, demanding an end to U.S. funding of Mubarak’s pro-imperialist dictatorship and “Victory to the Egyptian People!”
At least 300 people turned out in Seattle's downtown Westlake Park to rally and march in solidarity with the Egyptian revolution. Many of those participating were from the local Egyptian and Arab communities; they were joined by diverse progressive individuals and organizations, including the ANSWER Coalition.
Notably, a contingent of Ethiopians had a visible presence. Solomon Woldeyes made a solidarity statement, linking the struggle for freedom in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and elsewhere in the Arab world to their struggle in Ethiopia.
The crowd gathered and chanted, “Hey hey, ho ho, Mubarak has got to go” and “Hey Mubarak, how many did you kill today?” The demonstrators then marched several times around the block in the busy downtown shopping area, chanting militantly.
Hundreds of people rallied and marched in Boston's Copley Square in solidarity with the Egyptian people. The young and diverse crowd was comprised of large numbers from the Egyptian and Arab communities, as well as students and anti-war activists.
The action was organized through Facebook and local anti-war networks. Protesters carried signs demanding an end to U.S. support for Mubarak and freedom for the Egyptian people. Energetic and militant chants in both English and Arabic called for Mubarak to leave office immediately.
Today's protest followed one a week prior in which hundreds rallied in Cambridge's Harvard Square and marched over 5 miles into Boston, ending in downtown's Government Center area.
More than 100 people gathered at the Capitol in Hartford on Feb. 5 to show solidarity with the Egyptian people. Protesters rallied outside the Capital for an hour with many speakers from the Egyptian-American community and other progressive organizations, including the ANSWER Coalition, Middle East Crisis Committee, People of Faith and Connecticut United for Peace. The demonstration was initiated by Egyptian students and activists.
Many speakers condemned the U.S. governments’ continued support for the Mubarak regime. Chris Garaffa of the ANSWER Coalition addressed the crowd, saying: “We are proud to stand in solidarity with the Egyptian people who right now are overthrowing the regime that the United States has supported and funded for the last 31 years."
One speaker, eight-year-old Radi Elazazy, said he was there to tell Mubarak: "All the people of Egypt should be treated equally."
Following the rally, demonstrators took to the rain-soaked streets and marched to the Federal Building led by Arabic and English chants including, “Yasqut, yasqut kull Mubarek” (Down, down with all Murabak) and “Hey hey, ho ho, Mubarak has got to go!”
Protesters expressed solidarity with the people of Palestine, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Activists from across Columbus converged on Ohio State University campus on Feb. 5 to demand an end to the Mubarak regime in Egypt. The event was organized by a broad coalition of student, Muslim and Egyptian groups.
Organizers from the ANSWER Coalition attended the demonstration carrying signs and joining in chants of “Down, down with Mubarak!” Egyptian flags and signs of solidarity with the Egyptian people covered an entire section of the street and received substantial attention from passersby.
Activists came from an assortment of different communities, including the Palestinian community at Ohio State, to stand in solidarity with the struggling people of Egypt.
The protesters planned for future demonstrations based on how the situation in Egypt unfolds. If Mubarak is driven from the country, there will be a celebration in two weeks, but if he remains, demonstrations will continue until he resigns.
The demonstration was a testament to the unity of the movement demanding an end to Mubarak’s regime and victory to the Egyptian people.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, protesters stood outside the New Mexico legislature to call for the removal of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The rally was organized by a loose coalition of activists, including the Coalition for Peace and Justice in the Middle East from the University of New Mexico.
Members of ANSWER Coalition traveled from Albuquerque to participate, carrying signs demanding the end of U.S. support for Mubarak’s dictatorship. Passers-by demonstrated their support for the Egyptian people by honking as they drove past, and several pedestrians stopped and joined the rally.
Three demonstrations were recently held in Pittsburgh in solidarity with the people of Egypt. People gathered at the Federal Building downtown on Feb. 2, and the University of Pittsburgh on Feb. 4 and 5. Many protesters had family members participating in the demonstrations in Egypt, and expressed how heartening it was for them to know that they had the support of people all over the world.
Favorite chants included “Down, down Hosni Mubarak” and “Hey Mubarak, can’t you see, time to join Ben Ali.” Participants in the demonstrations held signs that pointed out the continued U.S. government support for the regime and were inspired by the militant example set by the Egyptian people.
A demonstration in solidarity with the people of Egypt took place in front of the downtown Federal Building on Feb. 4. The rally, called “Stand for Egypt,” was organized by the Syracuse Peace Council and supported by the Muslim American Society.
Protesters demanded that the U.S. government cease all funding to the brutal Mubarak dictatorship and also urged Representative Ann Marie Buerkle, who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, to support the Egyptian people in their struggle for a true people’s government.
Protesters were inspired by the movement in Egypt and encouraged to build a movement in this country. Jessica Maxwell, an organizer with the SPC, said: “The people of Egypt have shown the way.”
New Orleans, La.
On a cold day in New Orleans, La., an exceptionally warm crowd of pro-Egypt demonstrators seemed to insulate the outside of the Hale Boggs Federal Building on Feb. 5. People from different walks of life rallied together under the blanket of the same cause, chanting: “Up with Egypt! Up! Up! Down with Mubarak! Down! Down! One solution! Revolution!”
The proudly marching demonstrators were not only chanting against Mubarak; they were also chanting against President Obama. The Obama administration is not only directing our tax dollars (a little over half of the U.S. national budget, a resounding $30 trillion) to the wars in the Middle East, it is also allowing U.S. tax dollars to be spent on Mubarak’s oppressive regime.
On Feb. 6, more than 100 demonstrators gathered in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to show solidarity with the Egyptian people. The action drew a large amount of media coverage from both English- and Spanish-language media, as well as Al Jazeera.
This was the third such demonstration in south Florida in the past week.
Report and photos by: Ana Santoyo, Andrew Beale, Andrew Freeman, Bill Hackwell, Chris Garaffa, Chris Gonsalves, Corey Ansel, Deb Malatesta, Derek Ford, Devin Stith, Jane Cutter, Jessica Bardales, John Peter Daly, Josh Porche, Kenneth Miller, Meghann Adams, Naira Brown, Risa C'Debaca, Roger Scott, Sean Pavey, Walter Smolarek, Yvonne Bonilla