Friday, 9 January 2009

“Shame on Egypt”

This just in from the Associated Press:

An estimated 50,000 people protested in the coastal city of Alexandria after Friday prayers, joining thousands of people across the Middle East rallying against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

The protesters, who thronged the streets in Alexandria, also berated Egypt for not lifting its border with the beleaguered Gaza Strip, chanting “Shame on Egypt,” and "Gaza excuse us.”

A police official in Cairo, who did not want to be identified because he was not allowed to speak to the media, said an estimated 50,000 people took part in the protest.

In the coastal city of El-Arish, the closest city to the border, protesters clashed with police during another protest. At least 10 people were slightly injured, said a police official.


And Earth Times:

Demonstrators in their thousands took to streets in the Arab world following Friday prayers to show their support for the people of the Gaza Strip and denounce the nearly two- week Israeli military offensive there.

Demonstrators in Doha, Baghdad and Amman carried Palestinian flags and chanted slogans in support of Gaza. Others decried the Egyptian government, accusing it of indirectly supporting Israel by keeping its border to the salient closed.

The largest demonstrations took place in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, where eyewitness accounts say about 200,000 demonstrators took to the streets, calling for "Death to America and Israel" and saying that "Islam would win."

In the southern port city of Aden, police had to fire warning shots and tear gas to disperse tens of thousands of protesters after they tried to access the diplomatic quarter.

In Amman, tens of thousands of demonstrators carried photos of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who expelled his country's Israeli ambassador.

Demonstrators gathered near the Israeli embassy, but were prevented by security forces from reaching the building. They demanded that the Israeli ambassador be kicked out of Amman.

The Friday demonstrations were called by prominent Egyptian-born, but Qatar-based, Islamic scholar Youssef al-Qaradawi.
He called for Friday to be a "day of support for Gaza" and has urged imams around the Muslim world to deliver their Friday sermons on the Gaza situation.

Qaradawi delivered the Friday prayer sermon in one of Doha's mosques in which he attacked US "double standards" and Washington's "involvement in the Zionist scheme."

Demonstrators then came out of the mosque onto the streets carrying Qatari and Palestinian flags and wearing the traditional Palestinian keffiyeh, or scarf.

In Baghdad, thousands of demonstrators marched in Baghdad and chanted slogans like "Where are the Arab leaders?" and carried placards reading "Gaza martyrs, you are going to heaven" and "The attack on Gaza is an attack on humanity."

The demonstrators then gathered at the Muslim Youth Association, where speeches were delivered and songs sung in support of Gaza.

Police tried to stop protests by 100,000 people in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, but eventually decided to let the protest continue. Proteters decried Egyptian policy.

In clashes in the Sinai peninsula city of El-Arish, eight demonstrators and multiple policemen were injured in clashes. More than a dozen demonstrators were arrested.

Also, about 3,000 people protested in Ramallah in the West Bank at the urging of Hamas. Protesters chanted "Hamas, Hamas," but, unlike previous demonstrations, did not wave Hamas flags. The protest was dispersed by authorities after about half an hour.

Demonstrations also took place in Bahrain and support marches were expected in the United Arab Emirates.

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