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Egyptian-Americans and others demonstrated in Manhattan today, calling for the resignation of Egyptian President Mubarak. The rally began in Times Square and was followed by a march to the Egyptian mission at 44th St. and Second Avenue. I was out of the city for much of the day today, but I did get over to 44th and 2nd at the tail end of the demonstration to make a few drawings. It was a very peaceful demonstration, people cheering out slogans, some music playing, flags waving and protesters with banners walking up and down the street. The NYC cops were out in force, basically just standing around making sure everyone stayed out of the street to allow the cars on Second Avenue go by.
One man got up high and, through a megaphone, thanked the protesters for coming out and showing solidarity with the people of Egypt. Then the cops started breaking everything up, one police officer yelled out, “OK everyone, go home now. Back to reality.” To which a young Egyptian American man yelled back, “Hey man, this is reality!” The crowd, by the time I got there (about 7 pm) was mostly men with a few women in the traditional head scarves scattered around. There were a lot of middle aged men with their teenaged or twenty-something sons, and the bonding going on between the two generations was kind of wonderful. The middle aged men were very vociferous about Egypt’s history and her destiny, and many made a point to say how proud they were of the young people in Egypt today, demanding their rights and freedom.
Jon Gerberg, a local NYC reporter, was interviewing some of the men after the rally had ended. The gentleman in the drawing above was very reserved and spoke very calmly about the issues in Egypt and what he felt were the problems with Mubarak. The man at left in the drawing below was very adamant in speaking about the mixture of Egyptian people: He made it a point several times to say that there are Christians as well as Muslims in Egypt. He spoke for quite a while, and when he was done the other men around him applauded. Then the group began chanting EGYPT! EGYPT! and dispersed.
It’s still to be seen how the events in Egypt are going to play out; hopefully there can be a peaceful resolution to the situation. We can only watch on our televisions, half a world away, and send our thoughts and prayers to the Egyptian people.