VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A hundred people rallied outside the Vancouver Art Gallery Saturday to protest the actions of Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
El-Sissi came to power in 2013 in a military coup. He is a former army general who’s overseen an unprecedented political crackdown, silencing critics and jailing thousands.
The Egyptian Coalition for Democracy hosted the event to denounce what they call Sissi’s “corrupt and fascist regime.”
Tarek Ramadan, one of the organizers of the Vancouver event, says it’s important for Egyptians around the world to draw attention to what’s happening in their country.
“[The government] have made it clear to the people of Egypt that you have one of two choices: either you get down in the streets and get arrested, shot, or killed; or you stay home,” he says. “We stand with the people of Egypt in their quest for freedom and ideological liberation from the military regime.”
On Friday, rare anti-government protests broke out in several Egyptian cities calling on President El-Sissi to step down. The small street demonstrations were quickly dispersed by riot police using batons and tear gas.
Dozens of people were arrested, including at least two journalists, according to the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights. No casualties were reported.
Rallies also took place in place in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
The goal of the cross-country rallies was to get the Canadian Government to denounce El-Sissi’s actions.
“We feel like it’s our duty to make awareness outside of Egypt, as well as hoping that the message will get across to our government,” Ramadan says. “We are hoping that Canada will stand on the side of democracy in Egypt.”