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Friday, 10 June 2005

Solidarity Protest at Egyptian Embassy in Korea

Dear friends and comrades,

On 9 June, 2005, 11:00am, a diverse group of anti-war and human rights activists gathered in front of the Egytian Embassy in Seoul to demonstrate against Egyptian dictator Mubarak.
Because the the domestic law forbiding any protest in front of foreign diplomatic offices, the group called it a press conference. People began the protest by chanting "Down Down Mubarak","24 years is enough", "Kifaya! Kifaya", "Victory to the Egyptian People's Struggle for Democracy!" The ambassador refused to see us. But we made sure that he will be seeing us
more often as long as Mubarak and his son is in power. It seems South Korea is far away from Egypt and no one here will be interested in what is going on in Egypt. It is far from truth. Although not much of the situation in Egypt is reported in the mainstream media, when
South Koreans hear about the Kifaya movement and Mubarak's desperate attempts to keep his power, they immediately make a connection to their past military rulers.
Yes, South Koreans have seen their ruler putting forth political reforms that are nothing more than shams to maintain control. If they did not all, military rulers resorted to brutal violence. A prime example is the Kwangju Massacre where citizens of Kwangju city were shot to death by the army. It seems the rulers all over the world are learning from each other on how to control the people.This is why it is utmost important that people struggling for democracy build strong international solidarity and learn from each other. South Koreans' democratization movement have shown that it is possible to defeat the military dictator. With courageous demonstrations and strikes, the Egyptian working people have shown South Koreans what is at stake and
what must be achieved, a better world where working people manage their lives and society in true democracy.
On behalf of the South Korean anti-war and human rights activists I wish a grand victory to the Egyptian working people fighting for democracy and real change.
International solidarity,
CJ Park, All Together
Press Conference Statement Against Dictator Mubarak's Repression of Egyptian
Democratization Movement

WHEREAS, desperate attempts to maintain the iron rule that lasted for 24 years by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have now turned brutal. In response, the Egyptian people's opposition to Mubarak and struggle to realize true democracy are spreading like a wild fire.
WHEREAS, on May 25, Mubarak and his ruling party, the National Democratic Party, called a referendum to vote for a constitutional amendment to modify the rules for presidential elections. The new rule opens up the contest to multiple candidates but only if they are endorsed by government bodies in the grip of the National Democratic Party regime. This is one of many Mubarak's shams designed to pass power to his son Gamal.
WHEREAS, the majority of the Egyptian people boycotted the referendum that ended in a charade for a few supporters. The referendum is a major violation against democracy. The Mubarak regime claimed that 54% of the people participated in the referendum. However, reliable sources say that the real voting rate was 4%. Supporters of Mubarak were able to vote more than once while some booths were deserted.
WHEREAS, the Kifaya movement (Movement for Change), the Muslim Brotherhood, and others denounced the political shams put forth by the Mubarak regime and have called for the boycott of the upcoming presidential election and for more resistance against Mubarak.
WHEREAS, the Mubarak regime responded with brutal repression to Egyptian democratization movement which had called for nothing more than the basic principles of democracy such as universal suffrage. In the first of week of May just before the referendum over 2,500 people were arrested illegally.
Under such repression, the referendum on May 25 was carried out in two extreme scenes. Teams of riot police and right wing mobs viciously attacked the demonstrator for democracy where women demonstrators were singled out by Mubarak's thugs. Egyptians are describing the attacks as "Abu Ghraib on the streets". The Association of Egyptian Mothers issued a call for all Egyptian women to wear black on Wednesday of this week as a mark of protest against the Mubarak regime's increasing repression. Many did on the following Wednesday and the resistance is growing.
WHEREAS, we also condemn the attitude of the United States who self appointed itself as the police of the world and did not hesitate to intervene in the internal affairs of the Middle East. The United State has supported Egypt as its key ally in protecting its interests in the region.
US President George Bush praised Egypt as an important progress for democracy in the Middle East. But also his wife Laura Bush visited Egypt on May 23, two days before the referendum, and described Mubarak, as "bold and wise" and praised him for "taking the first step" towards democracy. The very people who invaded Iraq with a lie of spreading democracy are praising the Egyptian dictator's brutal attacks on democracy. The US must end all its
support to Egypt immediately.
WHEREAS, the voice of the Egyptian people defying the police terror and brutality of political thugs in hope to realize true democracy is higher than ever before. Strikes and demonstrations are growing. We are in full support of the Egyptian people who are suffering as we did in our past.
Therefore, wishing victory of the Egyptian people in their historical attempt to bring down Mubarak's iron rule, we demand the following.
1. We demand an immediate stop to all repression of democracy and the Egyptian people.
2. We demand the end of Mubarak's 24 year dictatorship.
Victory to the Egyptian people against the dictator.
9 June, 2005

All Together/ Citizens،¯ Solidarity for Human Rights/ Democratic Labor Party
Human Rights Committee/ People،¯s Solidarity for Social Progress/
MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, International Solidarity
Committee/ Korean Federation of Medical Groups for Health Rights/ Korean
People،¯s Solidarity/ Korean House for International Solidarity

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