Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Protests in Egyptian cities against possible emergence of a Mubarak-dynasty

Some three hundred demonstrators, including politicians and activist from groups of various political backgrounds, demonstrated on Tuesday against the possibility that president Hosni Mubarak (82) will be succeeded in next year's presidential elections by his son Gamal (46). The potesters gathered meters away from Abdin Square in downtown Cairo, near Abdin Palace, the presidential residence. Those present included representatives of several protest movements, including the Democratic Movement for Change, 6th April, Kefaya, Youth for Change and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as those from the Ghad, Karama, Naserite and Wafd opposition parties.
All were there to express their discontent with the regime of President Hosni Mubarak and voice their objection to an anticipated presidential bid by Mubarak's son. 'We have enough of you and Jimmy,'  they chanted, referring to Gamal by his nickname.
“We came here in memory of Orabi’s demonstration against Khedive Tawfik, in which he made him his famous statement: ‘We will not be inherited anymore’,” said George Ishak, a founder of the pro-democracy Kefaya movement. Ishak was referring to celebrated Egyptian patriot Ahmed Orabi, who in 1882 led a famous nationalist protest against a prohibition on Egyptian peasants from joining the national army.
“We stand against Gamal Mubarak’s lust for power," said MP and Karama Party head Hamdin Sabbahi. "We'll keep up popular pressure until we achieve transparent elections--otherwise we'll engage in civil disobedience."
For three hours, protesters chanted anti-Mubarak slogans and set fire to pictures of the younger Mubarak, w'hich bore the slogan 'Len tahkamna', You are not going to govern us'. Labor union activists also came to show their rejection of the notion of presidential inheritance from father to son. "In the name of Egypt's workers, I declare that we've seen poverty in Mubarak's time. We don't need more of this regime," Kamal Fayoumi, an activist laborer from Mahala, told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

There was a heavy turnout of riot police. At least ten activists were seized by plainclothes police working alongside conventional officers. A photojournalist from independent daily Al-Shorouk was beaten by police, who seized the film from his camera. An Al-Jazeera photojournalist was also among those taken by police officers, who could be seen ejecting his video tapes.
Dozens of local residents and shopkeepers, meanwhile, watched the protest from the doors of their shops or from balconies.

Only meters from the gathering, a few dozen supporters of Gamal Mubarak gathered near the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP)'s headquarters in Abdeen. In the (smaller) picture a pro-Gamal supporter is seen who rather pathetically holds a banner with the text 'Gamal Mubarak is a hero'.
The demonstration got lots of attention of the Egyptian blogosphere, where the day was called 'Oraby day'. Bloggers reported that demonstrations took place in the cities Alexandria and Port Said as well. It seems that some arrests were made in Alexandria, whereas people that had been rounded in Cairo were released lateron in a Cairo suburb.  

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