Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Montreal protest in support of Egyptian Revolution -1

20110205 TVA: coverage of Montreal rally

(During the pick of the rally we were 2500 )

20110205 AFP:  Montreal protesters call for democracy in Egypt
 (AFP) – 3 days ago
MONTREAL — Some 500 people demonstrated Saturday in the streets of Montreal, calling for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has resisted pressure to quit despite an unprecedented uprising.
Joining Egyptians on the peaceful march to the Egyptian consulate were groups of Tunisians and Algerians, as well as civic leaders from Quebec and Amnesty International activists.
"It's a demonstration with everyone from Middle Eastern communities who want freedom and democracy," said Mohamed Kamel, an engineer who organized the march with fellow Egyptian Nabil Malek, both of whom are longtime Montreal residents.
Malek told AFP: "What we have seen in Egypt over these past 12 days is not a coup d'etat, but a revolution of the people against tyranny."
Demonstrators, who came with family and friends, carried banners calling for Mubarak's resignation and chanted slogans to show solidarity with protesters in Egypt, as well as with all Arabs.
"What is important is the solidarity between the people, this struggle for democracy. It's for this reason that the communities mobilized," said Sonia Djelidi, an activist who supported the recent regime change in Tunisia.
Similar events were planned in Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver. Demonstrations occurred Saturday in several cities in the United States, as well.

20110205 CTV:  Montreal protestors march for democracy in Egypt

Montreal Egyptians and other supporters marched through the streets of Montreal Saturday as part of a Canada-wide protest for democracy in Egypt.

Demonstrators are demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

"We want democracy for all," said organizer Mohamed Kamel, a native of Egypt who has lived in Montreal for 20 years.

Protestors gathered at 2pm at Dorchester Square and marched to the Egyptian consulate at 1000 de la Gauchetiere.

Kamel said 50-100 people have been gathering in protest at the consulate each day this past week.

But Saturday's march and warm sun was expected to gather many more.

The group walked along streets Peel to Ste-Catherine, then taking McGill to Cathcart. From there headed south on University to Rene-Levesque, followed by Metcalf before arriving at the consulate.

Montreal's demonstration was one of many taking place nation-wide.

The Canadian Peace Alliance also organized rallies in Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Canadian protestors have vowed to rally as long as demonstrations in Egypt continue.

Egyptians have been protesting for 12 days in their quest to see Mubarak step down.

20110205 Montreal Gazette: 500 Montrealers gather to call for resignation of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak

By Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL - About 500 members of the city’s Egyptian community and supporters demonstrated Saturday to call for the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
“I feel proud I am an Egyptian,” said organizer Mohamed Kamel, a native of Egypt who has lived in Montreal for 20 years.
Kamel called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon to send a clear message that it is time for Mubarak to step down.
“We would like him out now,” said Kamel, who accused Canada of being out of step with the rest of the world in not pushing for Mubarak’s speedy exit.
Protesters gathered at Dorchester Square and marched east to the Egyptian consulate at de la Gauchetière St. W. at University St.
Demonstrations calling for Mubarak to step down were held in major cities across Canada and around the world.

20110205:  Montrealers March in Solidarity with Egyptian Freedom Movement
Tariq Jeeroburkhan
February 5, 2011 – Montrealers took to the streets to celebrate the changing of the seasons locally, and also in terms of the old-empire dynamics which have restrained humanity for so long.
The mild temperatures coupled with the bright sunshine created an atmosphere perfectly scripted for the world to turn the page on its long, bleak winter.
Over 500 chanting, composed and determined demonstrators began the march at Dorchester Square, in the heart of Montreal. Such an action and turnout can be credited to the tireless work of organizers united across various struggles who spread the word for this turnout. The issue of a foriegn-imposed agenda of oppression is at the core of many of these struggles and that is what many groups and individuals have realized. This is a realization that brought people into the streets today as well as to the daily vigils that are held in solidarity with the Egyptian people at the consulate in Montreal.
With such a bright day looming ahead and Montrealers abound and eager to get out of their winter blues, the march, which headed straight down St.Catherine street in the heart of the city, had blossomed to over a thousand strong by the time it reached the Egyptian consulate.
Member of the Provincial Assembly, Amir Khadr, addressed the crowd at the outset, as did representatives from across the political and community spectrum, being as much inspired by the vivacious crowd as being inspiration themselves.
After 30 plus years of a foriegn-sponsored dictatorship in Egypt ( the Egyptian military receives 1.1 billion dollars annually from the United States) the sleeping giant of the Arab world, Egypt has been awoken by its people and has begun to demand the same rights and democracy in their country as the United States claimed to be fighting for in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hosni Mubarak, the head of the Egyptian pontificate, “has oppressed the Egyptian people for over 30 years,” according to one demonstrator, “and the Egyptian people want him out!”
“There is a people power movement growing across the Arab world – Algeria, Tunisia, now Egypt - and the people won’t stop until they reach Gaza and end the blockade imposed by Apartheid Israel, only enforceable because Egypt blocks aid from reaching the Palestinian people through its shared border.”
Other demonstrators were just as adamant that the “People Power” movement, which was an overriding theme of the afternoon, must also reach the Kingdoms in the Arab world, such as Saudi Arabia.
Perhaps the high-point of the afternoon was a spontaneous, thousand-voiced rendition of the Egyptian national anthem as the demonstrators approached the consulate.
The next demonstration and march in support of the Egyptian people will take place February 12, 2011 at 2pm and will start at Dorchester Square, the corner of Peel and Rene Levesque. There are daily vigils held in front of the Egyptian consulate, located at 1000 De la Gauchitiere West, every week day from 5pm until 6pm.

20110503 CTV:  Unemployment, economy recipe for unrest in Egypt

CTV.ca News Staff
Date: Thu. Feb. 3 2011 7:48 PM ET
Protesters across Egypt are calling for the ouster of 82-year-old President Hosni Mubarak. But who are they and why has their dissatisfaction spilled into the streets now?
When protests first erupted in Egypt, there was widespread agreement demonstrators were emboldened by the uprising that saw Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flee to Saudi Arabia after more than 20 years of authoritarian rule.
But after more than a week of widespread demonstrations led to Mubarak's declaration he would step down when his term expires next September, the protests show no sign of abating.
University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan Peterson says the ongoing unrest stems from a confluence of factors in the Arab republic, not least of which is its massive population of more than 80 million -- and their median age of just 24.
While the size of the country's population ranks it 16th-largest in the world, its per capita GDP of $6,200 is just 136th in the world.
In fact, one-in-five Egyptians lives below the poverty line with little hope of rising above it as unemployment hovers around 10 per cent. And those with jobs can do little to combat inflation soaring at a rate of more 12 per cent a year.
Egyptian-born Montrealer Mohamed Kamel says when you factor in his homeland's inadequate healthcare and a neglected education system combined with a rampant culture of corruption it's easy to see where the frustration is coming from.
"You have to bribe people just to get your driver's licence," Kamel explained in an interview with CTV.ca.
Peterson says those are the precisely the conditions ripe for social unrest.
"This is a very young country and people who are young, particularly men who are young, aren't very happy when they don't have any opportunities -- especially when they see around them other people who have a tremendous share of the wealth," Peterson said in an interview with CTV's Canada AM on Thursday.
Approximately 40 per cent of the country's population lives on just $2 a day, Peterson added, explaining that people confronting bleak prospects will reach for whatever they can.
"So if you're young and see nothing but that in your future, you don't really have that much to lose."
Although the majority may not have many economic opportunities, the Egyptian population is relatively well-educated. More than 70 per cent of the population over the age of 15, for example, can read and write.
And those are the kinds of people propelling the youth opposition coalition credited with summoning Egyptians to the streets for a "day of wrath" on Jan. 25.
The so-called 6 April Youth Movement began as an Egyptian Facebook group back in 2008. At the time, it called for a general strike to support workers in the northern industrial town of Mahalla al-Kubra.
The group has since organized several pro-democracy rallies using Twitter and Flickr in addition to Facebook. Ahead of these latest protests, the group posted details of its demands online, including the ouster of Mubarak and other senior government officials as well as a rise in the country's minimum wage. Social media networks were also used to let people know where and when to gather.
But Peterson says, while such groups can tell protesters where to go and why, there's little that can be done to control the mob once it's formed.
"These things are chaotic and they build up step-by-step," Peterson explained. "People go out because they're already angry and it doesn't take much provocation on one side or the other for things to start to spiral out of control."
Egyptian officials have blamed much of the violence that's claimed at least 300 lives and left thousands more injured, on members of the officially-banned opposition movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Although the outlawed organisation's conservative leadership has not come out with an official endorsement of the demonstrations, foreign affairs advisor Jonathan Halevi says they are nevertheless a potent political force in Egypt.
"I think the situation here is all about who's going to take power and what political agenda the government will have in the future," the former Israeli intelligence officer told CTV News, noting that the Muslim Brotherhood remains Egypt's strongest and most organized opposition group.
"So they want to be part of the revolution in order to facilitate their election to parliament."
Before 2010, members of the Muslim Brotherhood held one-fifth of the seats in Egypt's parliament -- albeit as independents. They are no longer in government, however, after boycotting last year's election when the first-round of voting was marred by fraud and violence.
Halevi said the group's reluctance to participate in Egypt's "limited democracy" undermines the protest's portrayal in the West.
"We are not seeing here a confrontation between the Egyptian regime and democratic forces as it is portrayed in the Canadian media," Halevi said, insisting the protesters in Cairo "are not supporters of the values of democracy."
Instead, Halevi said, "Their demands are very clear: they don't only want the head of Mubarak. They want the whole regime, the whole establishment, the whole leadership from the era of Mubarak to step down."
But in his view, Kamel says it's wrong to lump the Muslim Brotherhood together with terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda.
"They are not a terrorist group, they are a conservative, right-wing religious group, that's it," the spokesperson for Canada's National Association for Change in Egypt said, pointing to the popularity of Christian political parties in Europe and the rise of the Tea Party in the United States.
"If we have a fair election in Egypt, they might end up with 20 per cent of the seats in the parliament, so why not let them come?" Kamel added, explaining that the politics of at least 50 per cent of voters in Egypt could be characterized as left-leaning 'liberals'.
Instead, Kamel said members of the Muslim Brotherhood can credit some of the group's reputation to Mubarak himself, and his efforts to push them out of legitimate Egyptian politics.
Rather than quiet the group, Kamel said, "This has made the people more sympathetic to them."
Mubarak was elected president in 1981, under a system that saw his nomination by lawmakers put to a national, popular referendum. A constitutional amendment passed in 2005 instituted a multicandidate popular vote for the country's top job.
The first election held under the new rules in 2005, saw Mubarak win with more than 88 per cent of the vote. His closest rival Ayman Nour claimed less than 8 per cent.
The next presidential election is slated for September.

Fri Jan. 28 2011

MONTREAL — Hundreds of Montrealers took to the streets Friday afternoon to show their support for a political uprising in Egypt.
Those with ties to Egypt have been on tenterhooks for days, trying to reach friends and family overseas.
Contacting people in Cairo and Alexandria has been virtually impossible, according to Mohamed Kamel, but until Thursday night, when the Egyptian government shut down all internet connections within the country, it was still possible to contact people outside those two major cities.
"It's a war. The authorities there are in a in a war with their own people," said Kamel, who is a member of the National Association for Change in Egypt. "We should speak out against this."
Meanwhile Rachad Antonius, a sociology professor at UQAM, says what is unusual about the current uprising is that it is not based on religious affiliation.
"The response has been incredible. You are seeing a great deal of support from Muslims, Christians, demonstrating side by side," said Antonius. "That's very interesting."
This week's protests in Egypt were triggered by an uprising in Tunisia that saw the governmentoverthrown.
And both of those tumultuous situations in Northern African had reverberations in Montreal, which counts about 16,000 Egyptians and 6,500 Tunisians among its population.
The manifestation of support Friday in front of the Egyptian consulate at 1000 de la Gaucethière was also a chance for the local community to puff out their chests over what was happening in their homeland, Kamel said.
"It's a feeling of pride of the Egyptian people that they woke up," he said.
For more on the Egyptian uprising, click here.

20110228 CTV:  Egyptian-Canadians hold rallies in Montreal, Ottawa

Fri Jan. 28 2011

Two groups of peaceful but deeply concerned Egyptian-Canadians took to the streets of Montreal and Ottawa on Friday in the first of two days of solidarity protests in Canada.
Hoping to show support for Egyptians who have been on the streets of Cairo since Tuesday, the rally participants carried signs calling for freedom, democracy and the removal of President Hosni Mubarak.
Demonstrators in Ottawa assembled outside the Egyptian Embassy at 1:30 p.m., while Montreal's event got underway at 2:30 p.m. in front of the Egyptian Consulate. Torontonians are planning to gather at 1 p.m. Saturday at Yonge-Dundas Square.
Protests in Egypt escalated significantly on Friday as Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei was placed under house arrest.
Protesters' demands include term limits for the presidency, the dismissal of Interior Minister Habib El-Adly, an end to police brutality and the abolition of the state of emergency designation in place since 1981.
"We call on the government of Egypt to respond to the legitimate aspirations of all the Egyptian people by taking all necessary practical steps for democratic reform," states an open letter released this week by the National Association for Change in Egypt/Tagheer-Canada.
"Egyptian Canadians stand up in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Egypt… and will react to each step taken in Egypt by the people and the government until all demands are implemented."
The group is encouraging Egyptians abroad to add their names to the statement, which is posted online.
Spokesperson Mohamed Kamel says many in the Egyptian community are worried for their loved ones. Telephone and Internet access was cut Friday in much of that country and only small bits of information are getting out.
"It's a war," he told CTV Montreal on Friday. "We should speak out against this."
Middle East expert Rachad Antonius, of the Universite de Quebec a Montreal, was expecting a big turnout at Friday's rally, despite an Egyptian community he describes as not particularly political.
"The response (to this issue) has been incredible," he said. "You have (Muslims and Christians) demonstrating, putting aside any religious affiliations. That's very interesting."
However, at the rally's 2:30 p.m. start time, the crowd could be counted in the dozens, a mixture of Egyptian-Canadians and supporters from other cultures.
While optimistic about Egypt's future, many also expressed fears for the welfare of their family members who live there.
There are between 16,000 and 18,000 Egyptian-Canadians living in Montreal.
In Toronto, demonstration organizer Ahmed Khalifa said expected turnout at that city's Saturday event is growing quickly.
"It started as just me and a friend, and next thing you know we have 1,000 people coming," he told CTV's Canada AM on Friday.
Khalifa said many Egyptian-Canadians have been glued to their cellphones to stay abreast of the latest developments, much like those in Egypt have been using mobile technology to spread details of the protest movement.
"We are all hooked into our BlackBerrys and we are hoping for the best," he said. "As Egyptians living in Canada and as Canadians citizens who support the freedom of people around the world, we are hoping we have a big rally."
Inspired by the success of protests in Tunisia that led to the ouster of president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali on Jan. 14, Khalifa said he's hopeful for change.
"Tunisia floated hope for the whole world and hope is contagious," he said.
With reports from CTV Montreal's Cindy Sherwin and CTV National's Genevieve Beauchemin

Egyptians in Canada find solidarity in protest
MONTREAL— From Monday's Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011 8:48PM EST
Last updated Tuesday, Feb. 01, 2011 1:35PM EST
For Reem Owais, the loud but peaceful protest on a cold and sunny Sunday in downtown Montreal was her first. But not, she vowed, her last.
“The only thing that matters is that things change in Egypt. We have had enough,” said Ms. Owais, a mother of two who was at her first-ever demonstration, one of many over the weekend in different cities across Canada to denounce the undemocratic regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
For Reem Owais, the loud but peaceful protest on a cold and sunny Sunday in downtown Montreal was her first. But not, she vowed, her last.
“The only thing that matters is that things change in Egypt. We have had enough,” said Ms. Owais, a mother of two who was at her first-ever demonstration, one of many over the weekend in different cities across Canada to denounce the undemocratic regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
“This is the first one for me,” said Ms. Owais, who came to Canada from Egypt three years ago and whose parents still live in Cairo. But she said she plans to attend more such events of defiance over the next few days in a show of solidarity with her fellow Egyptians.
About 100 people showed up Sunday afternoon in front of a downtown Montreal high-rise where the consulate general of the Arab Republic of Egypt is located. Expatriate Egyptians and supporters have been gathering for the past several days at the same spot, chanting slogans and singing the Egyptian national anthem, waving Egyptian and Canadian flags and placards and calling for the immediate ouster of Mr. Mubarak, who has had an iron grip on the country for 30 years.
Organizers of the Montreal demonstration vowed to return every day until Mr. Mubarak leaves.
“This is bringing Muslims and [Coptic] Christians together,” said Nabil Malek, president of the Canadian Egyptian Organization for Human Rights. “The momentum is there. We have to continue showing support for this revolution,” he said.
“We have to stand together,” said Mohammed Kamel, one of the organizers of the Montreal protest. “We are also calling on Canada to stop supporting Mubarak and his regime.”
Among the chants from the crowd was a call for help from the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “Harper, Harper where are you? All the Egyptians are asking you!”
There were similar non-violent gatherings over the weekend in several other Canadian cities.
No incidents were reported by police.
In Toronto on Saturday, an estimated 400 people staged a rally at Yonge-Dundas Square, chanting in Arabic with many hoisting signs that read “Egyptians in, Mubarak out.”
“It’s a matter of time now” before the regime is toppled, said Wael Zaghloul, a Toronto resident whose mother and sister live in Alexandria, one of three major Egyptian cities where the worst violence has been seen.
In Vancouver, a crowd gathered at Library Square in the city’s downtown Saturday to listen to speakers and express their support for anti-government actions in Egypt.
About 100 turned out for a rally at Churchill Square in front of City Hall in Edmonton on Saturday.
In Halifax, about two dozen people were reported to have showed up for a show of support at Victoria Park on Saturday. Another rally was expected to be held Sunday at Halifax’s Grand Parade.
With reports from The Canadian Press

Mubarak clings to power as Egypt burns
'This is the Arab world’s Berlin moment'

By Samia Nakhoul and Sherine El Madany, Reuters

CAIRO - Looted stores, burned-out cars and the stench of blazing tires filled the streets of Cairo early on Sunday as President Hosni Mubarak sought to bargain with angry crowds and security forces struggled to contain looters.
In five days of unprecedented protests that have rocked the Arab world, more than 100 people have been killed, investors and tourists have taken fright, Mubarak has offered a first glimpse of a plan to step down and 80 million long-suffering Egyptians are caught between hope for democratic reform and fear of chaos.
The U.S. and European powers were busy tearing up their Middle East policies, which have supported Mubarak at the head of the most populous Arab nation for 30 years, turning a blind eye to police brutality and corruption in return for a solid bulwark against first communism and now militant Islam.
The biggest immediate fear was of looting as all public order broke down. Mobs stormed into supermarkets, banks, jewellery shops and government buildings. Thieves at the Egyptian Museum damaged two mummies from the time of the pharaohs.
"They are letting Egypt burn to the ground," said Inas Shafik, 35.
On Saturday, the 82-year-old Mubarak bowed to protesters and named a vice-president for the first time, a move seen as lining up Omar Suleiman, hitherto his chief of intelligence, as an eventual successor, at least for a transition. Many also saw it as ending his son Gamal’s long-surmised ambitions to take over.
Fearful of a descent into anarchy, some Egyptians may have been reassured by signs Mubarak may be readying a handover of power within the military establishment.
But those on the streets of Cairo, a teeming megalopolis of 15 million that is the biggest city in the Middle East, have smelled weakness and remain impatient for Mubarak to go now.
"This is not acceptable. Mubarak must step down. Public unrest will not stop until this is achieved," Mohammed Essawy, a 26-year-old graduate student, said of the appointments.
In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said: "The Egyptian government can’t reshuffle the deck and then stand pat."
Since protesters toppled Tunisia’s leader two weeks ago, demonstrations have spread across north Africa and the Middle East in an unprecedented wave of anger at authoritarian leaders, many of them entrenched for decades and enjoying U.S. support.
"This is the Arab world’s Berlin moment," said Fawaz Gerges of the London School of Economics, comparing the events to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. "The authoritarian wall has fallen, and that’s regardless of whether Mubarak survives."
As in Tunisia, Egypt’s exploding young population, most of then underemployed and frustrated by oppression at the hands of a corrupt and rapacious elite, were demanding a full clear-out of the old guard, not just a reshuffle of the governing class.
Police shot dead 17 people in Bani Suef, south of Cairo, as street battles intensified in some towns, even as police seemed to leave much of Cairo to the army, an institution generally respected by Egyptians and less associated with oppression.
According to various estimates, more than 100 people have been killed during the week in Egypt’s capital and other cities.
On the Corniche promenade alongside the River Nile in Cairo, people stayed out after the curfew deadline, standing by tanks and chatting with soldiers who took no action to disperse them.
At one point, dozens of people approached a military cordon carrying a sign reading "Army and People Together." Soldiers pulled back and let the group through: "There is a curfew," one lieutenant said. "But the army isn’t going to shoot anyone."
Still, while many defied the curfew in a sign of political defiance, others took the opportunity to roam for booty.
Civilian vigilantes stepped in to fill the void left by a vanished police force.
"There are no police to be found anywhere," said Ghadeer, 23, from an upscale neighbourhood. "Doormen and young boys from the neighbourhoods are standing outside holding sticks, razors and other weapons to prevent people from coming in."
While clearly anxious to avoid an anarchic collapse that might destabilize a region vital to world oil supplies, Mubarak’s allies in Western governments appear to share a sense that what has happened so far does not go far enough.
In Europe, the German, French and British leaders issued a joint statement thanking Mubarak for his contribution to stability in the Middle East - Egypt led the way in agreeing to a peace with Israel - but demanding that he now start the move to free elections, a move that would certainly end his power.
Of Suleiman’s appointment, analyst Gamal Abdel Gawad Soltan said: "This is the beginning of a process of power transfer."
At the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Jon Alterman said: "I can’t see how this is not the beginning of the end of Mubarak’s presidency. It seems that his task now is to try and manage the transition past his leadership."
If the plan is for Mubarak to hand power to Suleiman, it remains to be seen whether the population would tolerate him.
"He is just like Mubarak, there is no change," one protester said of Suleiman, a key figure at the top of Mubarak’s inner circle and hated security apparatus.
The prospect of even greater upheaval across the Middle East is prompting some investors to see risks for oil supplies that could in turn hamper global economic growth.
Many saw Mubarak’s concessions as echoes of those made two weeks ago by Tunisia’s Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Just a day later, Ben Ali had fled his country, deserted by an army which preferred to back less hated figures in his government.
Like other Arab leaders, the president portrays himself as a bulwark against the West’s Islamist enemies. But Egypt’s banned opposition movement the Muslim Brotherhood has been only a small part of the week’s events, and lays claim to moderation.
"A new era of freedom and democracy is dawning in the Middle East," Kamel El-Helbawy, a cleric from the Brotherhood, said from exile in London. "Islamists would not be able to rule Egypt alone. We should and would co-operate."
While the police are generally feared as an instrument of repression, the army is seen as a national institution.
Rosemary Hollis, at London’s City University, said the army had to decide whether it stood with Mubarak or the people: "It’s one of those moments where as with the fall of communism in Eastern Europe they can come down to individual lieutenants and soldiers to decide whether they fire on the crowd or not."
So far, the protest movement seems to have no clear leader or organisation. Prominent activist Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Laureate for his work with the UN nuclear agency, returned to Egypt from Europe to join the protests. But many Egyptians feel he has not spent enough time in the country.
"Hosni Mubarak has not heard the people," ElBaradei told Al Jazeera, renewing his call for the president to step down.
Banks will be shut on Sunday as "a precaution," Central Bank governor Hisham Ramez told Reuters. The stock market, whose benchmark index tumbled 16 perc ent in two days before shutting on Friday for the weekend, will also be closed on Sunday

Publié le 05 février 2011 à 17h45 | Mis à jour le 05 février 2011 à 17h45
Les Égyptiens de Montréal maintiennent la pression

Valérie Simard
La Presse

Les membres de la communauté égyptienne de Montréal n'abandonnent pas. Ils sont descendus une fois de plus samedi après-midi dans les rues de Montréal pour réclamer le départ du président Hosni Moubarak. De tels rassemblements ont également eu lieu dans plusieurs autres grandes villes canadiennes de même qu'à Paris et à Washington.
«So-so-so-solidarité envers le peuple égyptien!» ont scandé en choeur les centaines de manifestants réunis au centre-ville de Montréal. Au-dessus de la foule, flottaient beaucoup de drapeaux égyptiens, mais aussi tunisiens, algériens, jordaniens et syriens. Car, pour la première fois depuis le début de la révolte, les membres des différentes communautés du monde arabe ont marché ensemble pour soutenir leurs peuples dans leurs luttes pour la démocratie.
«La situation est la même dans tout le monde arabe, a souligné Mohamed Kamel de l'Association nationale pour le changement en Égypte. Ça a commencé avec le peuple tunisien, puis les Égyptiens se sont dits : «c'est le mouvement qu'on doit faire». Presque en même temps que les Égyptiens, la révolte a commencé en Jordanie et au Yémen. Les Algériens annoncent quelque chose d'important pour samedi prochain. Les Syriens commencent aussi à en parler. C'est un mouvement du peuple arabe pour la démocratie.»
«On dit aux Égyptiens : «Regardez, on a réussi notre révolution», a lancé Khalil Essadik, un Montréalais d'origine tunisienne. La vie reprend son cours et on va continuer à avancer tranquillement. Pour les autres peuples, ils doivent suivre l'exemple. Il n'y a pas 30 000 façons pour réussir, il faut prendre notre destin en main.»
Pendant qu'au Caire, les Égyptiens descendaient dans la rue pour une 12e journée consécutive, à Montréal, leurs compatriotes les incitaient à ne pas abandonner. Bien que le comité exécutif du Parti national démocrate au pouvoir ait démissionné en bloc, Moubarak demeure à la tête du pays. «Moubarak est fort, remarque Taha Abd Elrahman. Il ne veut pas tout perdre. Mais s'il y a plus de pression sur lui, il va quitter.»
Harper critiqué
Le refus du gouvernement Harper de demander le départ immédiat d'Hosni Moubarak a été vivement critiqué. «La position de Stephen Harper sur l'Égypte est une illustration supplémentaire des tendances autocratiques de M. Harper, a soutenu le député de Mercier et porte-parole de Québec solidaire, Amir Khadir. En contournant les institutions démocratiques, en contrôlant l'information, je pense que M. Harper montre des signes inquiétants d'autocratie. Il n'a pas beaucoup de qualités démocratiques alors on comprend qu'il ait de la difficulté à appuyer sur les principes démocratiques en parlant de Moubarak.»
Présent au rassemblement qui a eu lieu à Toronto, le chef du Nouveau Parti démocratique, Jack Layton, a déclaré que le premier ministre Stephen Harper devait «arrêter de soutenir Moubarak et commencer à soutenir le peuple».
L'un des organisateurs de la manifestation montréalaise, Nabil A. Malek, a pour sa part dit espérer qu'à défaut de mettre de la pression sur le président égyptien, le Canada s'impliquera dans l'organisation des futures élections. « Le gouvernement du Canada a une responsabilité comme membre de la communauté internationale, a-t-il affirmé. On demande au Canada d'aider à la reconstruction d'un système démocratique, de surveiller les élections et s'assurer qu'il n'y a pas d'irrégularités.»

Publié le 29 janvier 2011 à 17h17 | Mis à jour le 31 janvier 2011 à 07h06
La diaspora manifeste à Montréal

Le soulèvement égyptien continue de résonner dans les rues de Montréal. Les membres de la communauté égyptienne du Québec ont manifesté à deux reprises ce week-end pour affirmer leur soutien à leur peuple et réclamer la fin du régime d'Hosni Moubarak.
Munies de drapeaux égyptiens et de pancartes affichant le slogan «Moubarak, dégage!», une centaine de personnes se sont massées devant le consulat d'Égypte au centre-ville de Montréal, samedi et hier. Il s'agissait des troisième et quatrième manifestations organisées par la diaspora depuis le début de la révolte en Égypte, il y a une semaine. Lors des deux rassemblements, la petite foule a passionnément chanté et scandé des slogans en arabe durant des dizaines de minutes, certains manifestants allant même jusqu'à s'époumoner.
«Moment extraordinaire»
«Nous vivons un moment extraordinaire. Ce n'est pas juste un coup d'État sanglant ou une révolution politique, mais un mouvement pour la justice sociale», a déclaré en marge du rassemblement d'hier Nabil A. Malek, président de l'organisation canado-égyptienne des droits de la personne et membre de la section montréalaise de l'Association nationale pour le changement en Égypte, qui a organisé la manifestation. «Nous avons besoin maintenant de l'appui de tous les pays occidentaux comme le Canada pour soutenir une Égypte démocratique qui accepte la rotation du pouvoir. C'est dans notre intérêt d'appuyer la formation d'un gouvernement démocratique.»
«Assez, c'est assez», «Non à la Lobycratie», «Liberté, équité et respect pour le peuple égyptien», pouvait-on lire hier sur les affiches des protestataires.
Samedi, les manifestants ont scandé pendant plusieurs minutes: «No Moubarak, no Souleimane. Egypt has to be free now.» (Ni Moubarak ni Souleimane. L'Égypte doit maintenant être libre.) Vraisemblablement, ni le discours prononcé vendredi par le président égyptien ni les nominations d'un vice-président et d'un nouveau premier ministre n'ont semblé satisfaire les manifestants, au Caire comme à Montréal.
«Le régime de Moubarak doit partir en entier, a réclamé un organisateur de la manifestation de samedi, Mohamed Kamel, représentant québécois de l'Association nationale pour le changement en Égypte. Il ne faut pas juste un nouveau vice-président. C'est le même régime. Ce n'est pas acceptable que la police égyptienne fasse feu sur les Égyptiens qui manifestent dans la rue pacifiquement pour demander la démocratie. C'est un mot qui est très difficile à appliquer en Égypte.»
Un autre manifestant, Yassor Shoukry, a lui aussi dénoncé la nomination du chef des services de renseignement, Omar Souleimane, au poste de vice-président, lequel était vacant depuis l'accession d' Hosni Moubarak à la présidence en 1981. «C'est le même régime, c'est la même idéologie, a-t-il martelé. C'est la même dictature, mais avec un changement de visage. Le gars est un militaire, il n'a jamais pratiqué la politique.»

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Entrevue du jeudi 3 février 2011

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