Egyptian-Canadians protest on Ottawa streets
Protesters gathered outside Ottawa's Egyptian Embassy to show solidarity with fellow countrymen half a world away.
Ottawa's demonstration was much more peaceful than what erupted in the north-African country. But the disheartening sentiments regarding what they've called an oppressive regime remain the same.
They gathered carrying signs and chanted for freedom, democracy and the removal of President Hosni Mubarak.
"We have one message for Mubarek … get out of Egypt," said Ottawa resident Sharif Higazy.
But that message may stop at the doors of the Egyptian Embassy. The lines of communication via the internet, landlines and some cell phones have been cut.
"I'm trying to call my family to see if they're alright and I can't reach them," said Reem Higazy.
It has been years of poverty, unemployment and rising food prices. Combine that with an authoritarian government, and fellow Canadians start to feel grateful for the country they live in.
"People have no idea what it means to stand up to a regime like the regime in Egypt, but these people certainly do," said Ottawa-Centre MP Paul Dewar.
Protesters say they want, among other things, term limits for the presidency, dismissal of Interior Minister Habib El-Adly, an end to police brutality and the abolition of the state of emergency designation in place since 1981.
Foreign Affairs Canada has issued a warning to Canadian travelers saying:
- a high degree of caution should be exercised
- there is a threat of terrorist attacks
- there are high levels of criminal activity
- access to some areas may be restricted
- Canadians should avoid all demonstrations as they could turn violent without warning
Foreign Affairs officials say travel to the following Egyptian cities should be avoided: Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.
With a report from CTV's Karen Soloman