Expatriate Egyptians protest around the world on anniversary of revolution

Basem Osama, Thursday 26 Jan 2012

As protesters crammed Tahrir Square yesterday, expat Egyptians abroad organised protests in many world cities in solidarity with Egypt's unfinished revolution

An Egyptian man chants pro-democracy slogans during a rally outside the Egyptian Embassy in London to mark the one-year anniversary of the beginning of protests in Egypt, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. (Photo:AP)

Egyptian expats living abroad organised protests in many world capitals on the first anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, showing solidarity with protests against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in Tahrir Square and other Egyptian governorates yesterday.

While protesters expressed anger regarding the pace of democratic transition in post-revolution Egypt, SCAF arranged ceremonies at Egyptian embassies and consulates abroad to celebrate the historic moment.

In London, hundreds of Egyptians stood in front of the Egyptian embassy, with some speeches calling for solidarity with the Egyptian people and other revolutions of the Arab Spring, condemning Western meddling in some Arab nations.

Protesters gave a share of attention to the US-Iranian crisis over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities. Speakers called for a protest in front of the US embassy in London Saturday.

In France, the Free Union for Egyptians Overseas, an organisation established by Egyptians living in France, called for protests in 19 countries, including Norway, Australia, the US and Greece. A number of Egyptians also called for a protest in front of the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The Egyptian community in Spain organised a protest in the southern city of Seville.

In Italy, Egyptians staged three protests, in Rome, Venice and Milan, in solidarity with Tahrir protesters and will also show documentaries as part of the "Kazeboon" (Liars) campaign.

In Greece, members from the Egyptian community will screen "Kazeboon" videos with Greek subtitles in places where Egyptians gather in Athens.

In Germany, Egyptians called for a demonstration in front of the Egyptian embassy in Berlin and at the historic Brandenburg Gate.

In the US, the Egyptian community protested in front of the Egyptian embassy in Washington, reject any celebrations of the revolution while there are still "unachieved" goals.

The Washington embassy ceremony saw the attendance of top-level US diplomats from the White House on behalf of President Obama, along with representatives from the Pentagon and State Department.

While Egyptian protesters in Europe and the US were able to voice their concerns, Egyptian expats in Arab Gulf countries encountered problems gaining permission to protest.

In Qatar, Egyptians called for a moment of silence and for sympathisers to don black clothing after Qatari authorities refused to issue a license to protest.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain saw a different scene. The Egyptian communities in the two states did not protest, but nonetheless resented local embassies inviting who they called "elite" Egyptians, among other state officials, to official celebrations.

Egyptian expatriates played a vital role during the 2011 revolution, gathering international support for nationwide demands for democracy and the end to Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year dictatorship.

They also waged a long and intensive battle to gain the right to vote in Egypt’s parliamentary and presidential elections, a right affirmed in a ruling by the Administrative Court.

Short link: