Egyptian bloggers Big Pharaoh and Sandmonkey held an anti-terrorism protest in Cairo. They were hassled by the police and written up in the Guardian. Wow.
From Big Pharaoh’s post, Today I Annoyed Terrorists:
Today was a great day for me. I feel very satisfied with myself. Today I felt that I really did something against the terrorists even if what I did was not so huge and lasted for 20 to 30 minutes.
Sandmonkey and I joined 5 other young Egyptians in a protest against terror. We stood on top of one of Cairo’s busiest bridges and carried large placards with the words “No to Terrorism”, “Islam Against Terrorism”, “Egypt Against Terrorism” written on them in bold letters.
We stood on the pavement facing the passing cars and held those placards. I felt as if I looked like the guy who carries the “The End is Near” sign!!
From the Guardian’s Brian Whitaker:
Egyptians have been living under “emergency” laws for the last 24 years, ever since their president, Hosni Mubarak, came to power. This may not have done much to stop terrorism but it has been highly effective in stopping just about anything else that might disturb the government’s tranquillity.
One effect of the emergency is that it is illegal to hold a street protest in Egypt without the authorities’ permission, even if you want to do nothing more sinister than demonstrate against terrorism. Since the bombings in Sharm el-Sheikh, on Saturday, Egyptian bloggers have been filling the blogosphere with their thoughts.
But one of them, Karim Elsahy, 26, decided it was time to stop chattering and do something. He posted a note on his One Arab World blog and sent it to all the other Egyptian blogs he could find: “Set up a protest against terrorism tomorrow in the streets of Cairo. Do it. Call everyone you know.”
According to Big Pharaoh’s account, the police were not pleased:
We then decided to get off the bridge and continue what we were doing in Zamalek, an affluent part of Cairo. Suddenly, two police vehicles came after us. It appeared that we got on the police airwaves and they were looking for us! A police officer carrying a walkie-talkie approached us and asked about what we were doing, blah blah. We told him that we were normal young Egyptians who just wanted to demonstrate their anger at what happened in Sharm.
The guy told us that he respected what we were doing and that he himself is so affected by the terrorist attack because he lost colleagues. Another officer looked at the placards and said “an exciting way by a group of excited youth.” Yet we were still not allowed to protest even in Zamalek. “Someone might not like what you are doing and engage you in some violent manner” he said.
The officer talked to his superior, the very big guy, on the walkie-talkie and the orders came piercing through our ears. “Get them out of there” the very big guy said. “OK sir, I will carry out your orders” the officer responded.
Even MSNBC covered it. Well, Glenn Reynolds did.
Anti-terrorist Muslims and (not coincidentally) anti-terrorist bloggers are making their voices heard. Spread the word!
[link to Big Pharaoh and Sandmonkey thanks to Jeremy & Cara’s Who Knew]