Mohamed Tobar arrived in Canada just five months ago, but he’s already practising his democratic right to assemble, a right he says he didn’t have in his home country Egypt.
On Saturday morning, Tobar made a protest sign to take along with him to the Egyptian solidarity demonstration in Toronto.
“I’d like to see change in Egypt. President Mubarak doesn’t understand his people,” Tobar said. “He is a dictator.”
Tobar gathered with other Egyptian-Canadians from across Toronto to express support for the people of Egypt at Yonge-Dundas Square Saturday afternoon. The unrest in Egypt began Tuesday as tens of thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets and demanded President Husni Mubarak step down. He has ruled over Egypt since 1981.
While Tobar is grateful to live in a democracy, he is worried about the situation in Egypt and would like to see more pressure from the international community.
“The Canadian government should put some pressure on the Egyptian government to change its way,” he said.
A few hundred people of all ages attended the demonstration. Attendees waved their flags and chanted anti-Mubarak slogans in both English and Arabic. Some dressed in red, white and black to represent the Egyptian flag. Others hoisted signs that read: Mubarak Does Not Deserve Egypt and Egypt Wants Democracy.
Members of Toronto’s Iranian and Tunisian community also participated in the demonstration.
Gasser Saber, a resident of Toronto with family in Egypt, said he’s worried about his relatives and the communication shutdown imposed on the country.
“The past two days they cut off the phone lines,” he said. “So we couldn’t get in touch. But now they’ve got the phone lines hooked up again.”
Communication remains sporadic and disruptions persist throughout the country as the protests continue unabated.
Saber said his family members in Egypt describe the situation as volatile.
“They tell us there are lots of gun shots, lot’s of people robbing houses and stores,” he said.