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article imageCanadian officials gather at Ontario Legislature to support Egypt Special

By Andrew Moran     Feb 5, 2011 in World
Toronto - Hundreds of protestors and several Canadian public officials gathered at the Queen's Park Ontario Legislature in downtown Toronto to support the millions in Egypt and call for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.
The international community’s primary focus as of late is resolving the political crisis and upheaval in Egypt. In a recent interview, President Hosni Mubarak emphatically stated that he was not going to resign, but noted that he is “fed up” with the dissent in the nation.
Furthermore, the U.S. administration has been speaking with Egyptian authorities of a “peaceful transition,” while some officials in President Barack Obama’s administration have openly stated that Mubarak should step down. Although it is unclear who would take over the reins, one thing is for sure; the Egyptian people and their supporters all over the world are also fed up.
Canadians gather at Ontario Legislature to support Egypt.
Canadians gather at Ontario Legislature to support Egypt.
On Saturday, approximately a thousand people, including activists, Canadian officials, non-government organization heads and concerned citizens gathered at the Queen’s Park Ontario Legislature.
Prior to the demonstration, organizers wanted a moment of silence for those who have lost their lives in Cairo and elsewhere around Egypt who have “stood up to the oppressive Egyptian regime.”
The rally led to a march throughout downtown Toronto from College Street and University Avenue to Yonge Street to Wellesley Street and back to Queen’s Park. A group held letters that spelled “No Mubarak Yes Democracy” led the march.
Speakers included Canadian New Democratic Party Member of Parliament Jack Layton, Liberal Member of Parliament Jim Karygiannis, Canadian Arab Federation President Khaled Mouammar, Hany Shenouda, Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan and other Canadian peace activists.
Protestors, wrapped in Egyptian and Tunisian flags carrying signs calling for the end of the Mubarak regime, chanted English and Arab slogans, including “Kick Mubarak Out the Door, Let Egyptians Choose Their Fate,” “No Mubarak, Yes Democracy,” “Mubarak Go Go. Let the Tree of Freedom Grow” and “The People United Will Never Be Defeated.”
“We gotta end the violence forcefully,” said MP Jack Layton to members of the press. “We need to say it’s time for Mubarak to it’s time for Mubarak to move on instead of backing this current plan. Natural, when there is a lot of change in the world then a lot of organizations are worried.”
“But we’re talking here about dictatorships, we’re talking about a people that has been subjugated to a democracy that has been so far a sham. Naturally, when there is a change it brings about a degree of uncertainty.”
NDP MP Jack Layton
NDP MP Jack Layton
Liberal Member of Parliament Jim Karygiannis
Liberal Member of Parliament Jim Karygiannis
Canadian Arab Federation President Khaled Mouammar
Canadian Arab Federation President Khaled Mouammar
When asked who he would rather see in power, Layton responded that it’s not for him to call, but said you’d want a peaceful transition as possible. He was then asked if democracy was possible for the Egypt, in which he stated that it is highly likely because of the “well-educated, highly-motivated population.”
“With the help of the international community, with the world, absolutely,” continued Layton. An effective democratic transformation should be able to happen.”
Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis opened up his brief speech by noting that he saw a sign that wrote “kick out Mubarak” and said that he completely agrees with the sign. The crowd interrupted him and shouted that he should have been kicked out 20 or 30 years ago, in which he also agreed.
“It’s time for dictators to sign out,” said Karygiannis. “It’s time for dictators to tune off. It’s time for dictators to change the channel. It’s time for Mubarak to leave.”
The Canadian Peace Alliance coordinator Sid Lacombe proclaimed that Canadians will continue to protest as long as dictators in the Middle East suppress freedom of speech and other imperative rights.
Rallies were held all over Canada Saturday, including Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Windsor. Egyptian-Canadian Lemme Ibrahim, one organizer of the Toronto protest, said that the protests across Canada symbolize that Egyptians are not alone in their dissent and resistance.
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