Egyptians of all stripes flock to support Abbasiya sit-in

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Presidential candidates and political party reps - along with a host of average Egyptians - march on defence ministry to reinforce sit-in

Demo on Ramsis st opposed to attack on protesters in Abbasiya, 2 May (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
Solidarity demonstration on Ramsis street opposed to attack on peaceful protesters in Abbasiya, 2 May,2012

Thousands of Egyptian protesters marched Wednesday evening from Cairo's Ramses district to an ongoing sit-in outside defence ministry headquarters in the nearby Abbasiya district in hopes of stopping the violence that has left at least 12 dead within the last 24 hours.

"Down with military rule!" protesters chanted. "Egypt's a state, not a military camp!"

"Hussein Tantawi [head of Egypt's ruling military council] is Mubarak!" others shouted. "Shame on the military, which kills revolutionaries!" 

Marchers set out from the Fateh Mosque in Ramses en route to Abbasiya in eastern Cairo to show solidarity with the hundreds of protesters and sit-in participants who were attacked Wednesday morning by unknown assailants. 

Presidential contenders Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh and Khaled Ali could both be seen on the march, along with several members of candidate Hamdeen Sabahi's electoral campaign.

"The larger the number of protesters, the fewer can be killed by the regime," said Sabahi campaign official Rami Hussein. He added that his campaign planned to join forces with all Egyptian political stripes in hopes of ending Egypt's latest round of bloodshed.

The three presidential hopefuls, along with Freedom and Justice Party candidate Mohammed Morsi, have all temporarily suspended their respective campaigns to protest the renewed violence against political demonstrators.  

Ongoing clashes between protesters and unknown assailants appeared to have come to a halt Wednesday afternoon following three days of on-again, off-again fighting.

Representatives of almost every Egyptian political group could be seen on Wednesday's march, including those from official political parties, the April 6 Youth Movement, the Kefaya protest movement and the Revolutionary Youth Coalition.

A number of politically-unaffiliated Egyptians, however, also turned out to express their solidarity with the demonstrators.

Students Injie Alaa and Shorouk Mohammed, for example, both skipped their classes at Zagazig University in the Nile Delta on Wednesday to join the march and bring badly-needed medical supplies for injured protesters.

"I woke up to the news and just couldn't focus on my lectures, so I decided to come," said Alaa, who strongly agrees with protesters' primary demand, namely, that of ending military rule. "I'm not good at fighting, but at least I can reinforce the protesters and maybe help out with some medicine."

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