For Immediate Release
Ottawa, January 09, 2014 - The Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD) will hold a rally at the Egyptian Embassy this Saturday, January 11 to protest the referendum voting that started January 8th, 2014.
Canadian Egyptians from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto will rally in front of the Egyptian embassy in Ottawa. The rally will be followed by a conference at Sandy Hill community Center.
The referendum on the constitution is the latest attempt by the military-backed government to secure an air of legitimacy, when in fact the democratically-elected government was ousted in a clear military coup. In 2012, Egypt voted for a constitution by almost two-thirds majority which was monitored by international organizations and declared free and fair. This time, no international organizations will be monitoring the vote, which many predict will be rigged by the military junta.
The democratic victory of the Arab Spring has been dealt a near-lethal setback following the ouster of the elected president and his cabinet. Thousands of peaceful protesters and activists have been jailed, injured, and killed following the coup, according to international human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
“Democracy is the only way forward,” says Sherif Elkholy, a rally organizer in Ottawa. “After six months of the coup, it is evident that Egyptians are not giving up. Many people of all walks of life have been taking to the street every day despite the army and police’s brutal crackdowns.
“It is critical that the Canadian government, and Canadians of all backgrounds, insist that a democracy is restored in Egypt. Canada must not recognize or do business with a military dictatorship,” says Mohamed Kamel, from the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy (ECCD).
The current draft constitution will place the military above civilian oversight, keep its budget secret, and threatens to quash democratic freedoms including the formation of political parties and freedom of assembly and protest. The constitution also allows civilians to be tried by military courts.
Just this week, a team of international lawyers filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court alleging that the military committed crimes against humanity, and plan to file lawsuits targeting members of the regime.
What: Rally to boycott Egyptian referendum on military-backed constitution
Who: Canadian Egyptians and Pro-Democracy Supporters
When: Saturday January 11, 1 – 3 p.m.
Where: Egyptian Embassy (454 Laurier Ave E, Ottawa)
The Conference will be held at Sandy Hill community Center from 3-5 PM (221 Rue Nelson, Ottawa)
Similar protests against the referendum are scheduled to take place in other Canadian cities.