Egypt: 'The revolution must go to Palestine'

May 25, 2011

“To continue this revolution, Egypt must go to Palestine.”

These were the words of Akram Ismalii, a student from Cairo University who marched along side his classmates in downtown Cairo for the Third Palestine Intifada rally on May 15. The day marks al-Nakba ("the catastrophe"), as Palestinians call the anniversary of the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948.

It was rumored it would be a 1 million-person march, but the protests led by pro-Palestine demonstrators may have disappointed in size, but delivered in passion.

More than 100,00 demonstrators marched in the second round of protests from downtown Cairo to the Israeli Embassy in two days to demand freedom for Palestine and an end to Israeli occupation.

The first round of demonstrations were on May 13 outside the Israeli Embassy, where warning shots were fired from above in hopes to pacify the protestors.

Screams were heard from demonstrators fleeing the scene, however most stayed to continue their protest. One protester yelled: “We will never give up, we will never stop fighting, we will never die until Palestine is free!”

Men, women and children waving Palestinian flags marched on foot once again to the embassy on May 15. Many wanted the government to expell Israeli ambassador to Egypt Yitzhak Levanon.

Buses were scheduled to depart from Tahrir Square at 10am for Gaza. However the few that departed were intercepted by police not long after.

Police set up roadblocks and the army established numerous checkpoints in an effort to stop protestors from reaching Palestine.

Protesters yelled “down, down Israel” and “End to the regime and end to Shimon Peres” as they burned the Israeli flag.

“We do not want to incite violence on Israel. We do not want to be seen as terrorists.” Said Ahmed Mustafa as he waved the Palestine flag.

Protesters were adamant they not be confused with anti-semantic propaganda groups seeking a sectarian war against Israel.

“We want people all across the world, not just in Egypt, to know that this is not a protest against religions, it’s not a war against the Muslims or Jews. This is a battle for land, recognition and freedom for the Palestinian people.

"If we fight a war against religion this would spell the end of humanity, and the end of the world. Egypt has seen a revolution, now it’s Palestine’s turn” Said Mohammed Ahmed a member of the third Palestine Intifada group.

Protesters marched down Al Manyal bridge at midnight, brandishing rocks to haul at police outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy, just 50 metres from the Israeli building.

Armed with riot gear, tear gas, stones and ammunition, the police opened fire against the protestors in retaliation.

Protesters yelled at police and even ambulance drivers. Some tried to block an ambulance, claiming it contained ammunition.

One protester was shot by a rogue bullet, his blood stained the Palestinian flag he carried. "Long live Palestine!," he said.

[Photo by Elizabeth Pickworth.]

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