ROYAL OAK— Americans for Democracy in Egypt, a newly formed local Egyptian American organization, rallied on Saturday, Sept. 31 against "military rule" in Egypt.
About 30 protesters stood in front of the Art Beats and Eats Festival in Royal Oak, holding signs, denouncing the crackdown against Muslim Brotherhood protests in Egypt and the casualties of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria on Aug. 21.
Dr. Ola Elsaid, an outspoken opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood, who called for former President Mohamed Morsi to step down, before he was ousted by the Army on July 3, said she does not agree with the way Egypt's first Islamist president was ousted.
"I was unhappy with Morsi's government," she said. "But I'm still unhappy with the way the military is turning Egypt into a police state."
Elsaid added that she does not support the Brotherhood policies, but explained that the army's unfair tactics are depriving the Islamist movement's supporters of their rights, as most MB leaders have been arrested.
"We want freedom and justice for all Egyptians," she explained. "Not just the ones I agree with."
She said the solution for the political stalemate in Egypt is a democratic, inclusive process, where everybody is protected equally under the law.
|Egyptian American anti-military protesters, Royal Oak, Aug. 31. |
Elsaid acknowledged that the army still enjoys the support of almost half the Egyptians, who fail to see anything wrong with it.
"There is a strong bond between the people and the army," she said.
The Egyptian American doctor said pro-military politicians and media personalities are gaining momentum and speaking out against the January 25 Revolution that ousted former dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
"They're calling people who disagree with them terrorists, trying to reverse the achievements of the revolution," she said.
Last month, the army forcibly cleared the site of a pro-Morsi sit-in at Rabia al-Adawiyya Square in Cairo. Hundreds of protesters were killed in the crackdown.
|Bottom: Egyptian American boy holding the picture of a girl who was killed in the crackdown in Cairo.|
Since then "Rabia" became a symbol for anti-military protesters.
In Royal Oak, demonstrators held signs with pictures of people killed in the protests in Egypt.
The signs read, "Mourning humanity. Rabia in Egypt. Chemical massacre in Syria;" and "Support ballots, not bullets."
Ahmad Ghanim, an Egyptian American who lives in Royal Oak, criticized the Obama Administration's approach to the events in Egypt.
He said the administration's verbal criticism of the crackdown is not enough.
"They tell (General Abdul-Fattah) el-Sisi: Don't do this, and then they give him $1.6 billion," he said, referring to the U.S. military aid to Egypt.
He added that the anti-military movement in Egypt is growing and becoming more diverse, as more liberals and leftists are joining Muslim Brotherhood Islamists in opposing the military crackdown.
He described the recent wave of protests in Egypt as a "new awakening."
Ghanim, who works on the commercial side of the medical field, said Americans for Democracy in Egypt was formed after the "coup," to voice local Egyptian support for the restoration of democracy in Egypt.
Asmaa Attia, an Egyptian-American doctor who arrived recently from Six October City, west of Cairo, said the media are under-reporting the pro-Morsi protests.
Attia said the day she left Egypt, security forces stormed the building where she lives and set up snipers on the rooftop.
Many protesters were shot dead in the neighborhood that day, according to her.
The protest aroused the curiosity of many people leaving the festival, who stopped to inquire about the rally and the situation in Egypt. A nearby street singer dedicated a song about justice for the protesters.
Elsaid said the modest turnout at the protest was because many Michigan Egyptians had headed to Washington D.C. to protest for the same cause that day. However, the Egyptian DC protest was overshadowed by opposing Syrian rallies at the same site, who were protesting the possible U.S. intervention in Syria.