Chants of “Obama, Obama you should know — Mubarak has to go!” filled the air in front of the Egyptian Embassy and the White House on Saturday, as hundreds gathered in D.C. to show their support for the political protests mushrooming in Egypt.
Georgetown students joined in the demonstrations, which attracted a diverse crowd, from middle-aged women in hijabs to children sitting on their parents’ shoulders, waving signs protesting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.
“I went to support the Egyptian people by protesting the Egyptian government at the embassy. People really showed their enthusiasm, and the atmosphere inspired me to join in with the chants,” said Sharanbir Grewal (SFS ’13).
The protest started at noon Saturday, when over 200 enthusiastic people, as well as reporters from outlets such as ABC News and the Associated Press, gathered in front of Egypt’s embassy, where they remained for about three hours before moving to the White House. Protesters waved signs and loudly chanted anti-Mubarak slogans in both Arabic and in English, including “Fall! Fall! Mubarak!” and “Revolution, revolution until the conquest!”
Georgetown students had various reasons for attending, ranging from political activism to interest in seeing history at work.
“I went to support the Egyptian people by protesting the Egyptian government at the embassy. People really showed their enthusiasm, and the atmosphere inspired me to join in with the chants,” Grewal (SFS ’13) said.
Khurrum Siddique (GRD ’11), concurred, saying that he thought that the demonstration was an important show of solidarity with the Egyptian struggle.
“I think people have moved far away from the memory of the American and French revolutions in Europe and America, and they don’t realize that in other parts of the world people want representative and responsive governments — people in the Middle East feel like their governments aren’t doing that,” he said. “The atmosphere at the protest was electrifying. I wanted to take part in a revolution. Even though we are on the periphery in America and we are very far away from Egypt, we were part of the revolution.”
Ariana Marnicio (COL ’13) agreed, pointing out that the importance of the riots in Cairo is still unclear, but they could turn into a watershed moment for the Arab world.
“I thought it was powerful that the younger generations were there, too. They may not know what they are fighting for now, but it will be important for them someday,” she said.
The Egyptian protests have been ongoing in Cairo since Tuesday, with thousands taking to the streets to oppose President Mubarak’s 30-year rule, expressing their dissatisfaction specifically with his handling of the country’s economy, corruption and election fraud.
VIDEO: Egypt Protests Hit D.C.