100 Protest U.S. Backing of Egypt’s Islamist Rulers

by Mourad Haroutunian for New Canadian Media

More than 100 Egyptian-Canadians flocked to the U.S. consulate in downtown Toronto on April 20 to protest the U.S. administration’s backing the “fascist brotherhood regime” in Egypt.

“We stand with you shoulder to shoulder,” Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis told the crowd, “to make sure that Mr. Morsi steps up to the plate and protects Christians, Muslims and everybody together.”

President Mohammed Morsi succeeded secular president Hosni Mubarak, a long-time U.S. ally, in a controversial June election that pitted Morsi against Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafik.  

Protestors chanted to the beat of ‘tabla’ drums. They repeated slogans showing solidarity between Christian and Muslim Egyptians in the fight aimed at toppling Morsi’s Islamist government.   

A five-meter-wide banner was carried by four protesters that read:  “U.S.A.! Stop supporting the fascist Brotherhood regime.”

The MP said, “No country should fundamentally do away with those three things,” citing “freedom of religion, human rights and freedom of the press.”

Karygiannis, himself an immigrant, has been elected six times since 1997, representing Scarborough and Agincourt, which are Toronto ridings heavily populated by immigrants. 

The demonstration was co-organized by activists belonging to the recently formed National Salvation Front, an umbrella Egyptian opposition group led by Nobel laureate Mohammed El Baradei, leftist activist Hamdeen Sabahi, and Amr Moussa, Mubarak’s foreign minister from 1991 to 2001.

A bunch of Egyptian-Canadian groups and organizations also took part in the gathering, including the Canadian Coptic Association, the Coptic Alliance Without Borders, the Canadian Coptic Activists Federation (CCAF), Al Ahram Elgdeed newspaper, raainews.com website and the Egyptian Canadians for Democracy, an active Facebook group that has attracted 1,164 fans from around the world.

“The protest was very successful,” Sheref El Sabawy, deputy editor of raainews.com told New Canadian Media, adding that “a U.S. Consulate staff member came out and noted down all what was written on signs.”

The Egyptian-Canadian activist said Egyptian-Canadian organizations have been strengthening coordination among themselves “to lobby the U.S. and Canadian governments to put pressure on the Egyptian government.”

El Sabawy, who ran as a Liberal Party candidate for the Mississauga riding in the 2011 elections, said he believed the Egyptian government’s practices “do not comply with human rights standards.”

The demonstration was the sixth held in Toronto since last December.  A simultaneous massive protest was staged by Montreal and Ottawa Copts outside the U.S. embassy in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, opposing Obama’s support for “the terrorist” government in Egypt. Protesters blamed Morsi for “mishandling” the most recent sectarian violence north of Cairo, when four Christians and one Muslim were killed in an exchange of fire between members of both communities. ­– New Canadian Media

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