Socialist Worker

London protest shows solidarity with Egyptian revolution

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2237

Protesting outside the embassy (Pic: Alan Kenny)

Protesting outside the embassy (Pic: Alan Kenny)

Up to 1,000 people protested at the Egyptian embassy in London today (Saturday) in solidarity with the Egyptian revolution.

A Stop the War march from the US embassy to the Egyptian embassy joined others already gathered there, to loud applause.

They chanted in Arabic, “Bread, food and human dignity,” and in English, “Hey ho, Mubarak has got to go.”

Many of the protesters held pictures of people who have been killed or injured during the Mubarak regime’s attempts to stop the uprising.

They laid roses in front of the embassy to remember the dead.

Rafik, who helped to organise the protest, used to live in Cairo before moving to Britain four years ago. “What’s happening in Egypt has taken us all by surprise,” he told Socialist Worker. “We didn’t expect things to move so quickly.

“My family and friends are in Tahrir Square. They say the spirit is absolutely wonderful. And everyone says it’s like a carnival atmosphere.

“The regime tries to say if it goes there’ll be an Islamic government. That’s not true. You only have to look at Tahrir Square to see how diverse it is. Everyone wants a free, democratic society.”

Protester Ahmed added, “We’re echoing the voices of our people in Egypt. They want the regime to step down. And we’re asking for human rights and dignity.”

Youssef, an Egyptian, spoke to the rally at the US embassy. He said, “The revolution started in towns like Mahalla with simple people and simple workers.

“They come from the cottonfields but are made of steel. They will not let Mubarak stay till September.”

Tariq Ali also spoke. He said, “For 30 years the west has been backing dictatorships in Egypt. And for 30 years they’ve telling us all is well. This was and remains a brutal dictatorship kept in power by the Egyptian military.

“But the military is now divided. And watching soldiers fraternising with the people was a key moment.

“The west wants to replace Mubarak with a lesser-known torturer. His name is Suleiman. But we know Suleiman: he’s been in and out of London and Washington passing on information and torturing people.”

As the march set off, the protesters chanted “Down, down Mubarak” and “1, 2, 1, 2, 3—go join Ben Ali!” Some chanted, “One solution, revolution”.

A message of solidarity was read out from Ken Livingstone, who called the revolution “an inspiration for the whole world”.

Socialist Worker editor and Stop the War officer Judith Orr told the crowd, “I came back to see the media obsessing about Islamism. They’re terrified of Muslims being in government. But Muslims are allowed democracy as well.

“The best way to show solidarity with people in Egypt is to bring down our own government.”

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Article information

Sat 5 Feb 2011, 16:54 GMT
Issue No. 2237
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