Kiwis protest Egypt violence

Naylaa El-Hakim, Nawal El-Beih and Nahla Yazal from the Auckland Egyption community hold photos of people who have been killed in the protests in Egypt. Photo / Chris Gorman
Naylaa El-Hakim, Nawal El-Beih and Nahla Yazal from the Auckland Egyption community hold photos of people who have been killed in the protests in Egypt. Photo / Chris Gorman

About 250 people gathered in Auckland's Aotea Square today to protest against the Egyptian security forces' crackdown against Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

The Aotea Square protesters came from across Auckland's Muslim and Arab communities to voice their displeasure with Egypt's current military-backed government.

"We're all not Egyptian, but we all share the same cause,'' speaker Hassan Raslan said.

The protesters wanted social justice, freedom and bread for all Egyptians, Mr Raslan said.

"Muslim, Christian, all blood is sacred,'' they chanted _ referring to the military regime's bloody crackdown.

Mohamed Hassan said the rally was called to stand in solidarity with those who had lost loved ones in Egypt's protests.

"We are here to mourn the deaths of over 700 people this week ... and to call for the interim government and the security forces and the military leadership to be held accountable for these deaths.

"What we've seen in the last week has been horrific, and it's completely unacceptable and it completely goes against why the Egyptian people came out in 2011 to protest _ we came out to protest against dictatorship and to protest for freedom, and this goes against all that.''

The Auckland protesters came from different political and ideological backgrounds including the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr Hassan said.

"We're not here for any political reasons. We're here to say that the killings are unacceptable and people need to be held accountable.''

Protesters held up placards and photos of those killed in the Egyptian security forces' crackdown.

One woman held up a sign reading; `I am not from the Brotherhood, but they are all my brothers'. Some of the protesters wore `Free Syria' t-shirts.

Members of Auckland's Muslim and Arab communities held a strong kinship with each other's struggles, Mr Hassan said.

"Syrians know better than anybody what it's like to be fighting against a very fierce military security force, and so they more than anybody know how we're feeling at the moment.''

- APNZ

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