Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Canadian activists join global network to restore democracy in Egypt

An Egyptian-Canadian human rights group said it has joined a new coalition of activists from around the world to help bring democracy back to the African nation and oppose the current military-backed regime since the controversial ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.
Ehab Lotayef, a member of the grassroots, pan-Canadian group Egyptian-Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD), made the announcement on Parliament Hill Monday. The new network they co-founded is called Egyptians Worldwide for Democracy and Justice (EW4DJ) and will be announced in other cities globally in the coming days.
Backed by a network of activists from other countries and the openness of the Internet, Lotayef said EW4DJ will “expose the lies of the current Egyptian regime,” which he says has been “whitewashing” the July 3 military coup.

The coup that removed Morsi from power has divided many Egyptians who have taken to Cairo’s Tahrir Square in recent months to protest his ousting. Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically-elected president since the fall former president Hosni Mubarak who held onto power for more than 40 years.

But the ECCD says the voices in Tahrir Square sometimes go unheard and accuses the Egyptian government of controlling the media.

“There is no free media now in Egypt,” said Samaa Elibyari at the press conference. “And what we’re trying to do is collect information on what is happening on the ground and relaying this to the outside world.”
In the face of government censorship, she said the Internet will be on their side in the fight for democracy.
Paul Dewar, the NDP’s foreign affairs critic and MP for Ottawa-Centre, wrote in a statement to Lotayef on Saturday that the Canadian government should, “encourage Egyptian authorities to work in collaboration with civil society and the international community in establishing a roadmap to restore full democracy under civilian control.”
Lotayef stresses, though, the solution to Egypt’s problems will not come the outside.
“We are advocating for the people who are inside Egypt who are standing against the coup…and are ignored by the media that is currently very much supported and run by the current regime, (that) they have to know they have current supporters all over the world and at the same time they are going to be the solution – not us,” said Lotayef.

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