Around 6,000 Egyptian protesters and an expatriate minority stood for nearly four hours at the Syndicate of Journalists in Cairo at noon on Monday protesting the ongoing Israeli massacre of Gaza, calling for Israel's destruction and denouncing the Mubarak government, seen by many as complicit with Israel for refusing to allow Palestinians from the neighboring Gaza Strip into Egypt.
“Eliminate fascist Israel before it eliminates you!” “Muhammad's army is coming" and “We are all Hamas” were a few slogans shouted by 6,000 protestors in solidarity with Palestinians undergoing the deadliest Israeli offensive in 60 years that so far has killed over 375 Palestinian civilians and wounded nearly 2000.
“Israel is a criminal state that utilizes the memory of the Holocaust to deceive the world, yet its legacy is no different from Nazi Germany,” Husam Mokhtar, member of the Ikhwan told Alarabiya.net.
Many protesters argued that Israel’s ruthless and unyielding massacre of Palestinians despite condemnation of the international community forfeits the Jewish State’s right to exist in the Middle East.
"Since Arab blood is cheap to Israel, Israel in turn means nothing to Arabs and must be destroyed," 32-year-old protestor Abbas Hasan told AlArabiya.net.
"We are not asking Israel to stop because we know it won't. Instead we demand that our government and arab leaders take up arms against this questionable racist state and eliminate it," he added.
Egyptian government to blame
Demonstrators also bellowed accusations against the Egyptian government, which they held accountable for the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip, which they said could have been minimized had Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing for all Gazans.
Susan Esmat, member of the Egyptian Party Karama—Dignity—expressed her anger at the Mubarak regime for failing to do what she considers the very basics of resisting Israeli terror on the region.
"Egypt must open its Rafah border and leave it wide open for our brethren in Gaza. Opening the border is the ABC of a long journey of resisting Israeli terror, which Egypt has historically done before and must continue to do now," she told AlArabiya.net.
“Our first demand as Egyptian citizens is shutting down the Israeli embassy, kicking out the Israeli ambassador and cutting all peace agreements with Israel,” George Hana, a Coptic demonstrator told AlArabiya.net.
“What is happening to the people of Gaza is the responsibility of Muslims and Christians alike," Hana continued, "Religion is the best means to bring together those who want peace in such sad and barbaric times."
Rows of Egyptian security forces dressed in black lined the pavement on both sides of Abdel Khaliq Tharwat Street, the site of the protest, in downtown Cairo where the Journalist Syndicate is located.
Security forces kept demonstrators squished together on both sides of the street to prevent them from blocking the traffic on the usually busy street.
One security official told AlArabiya.net that the volume of demonstrators required heavy security to ensure safety and to allow the flow of traffic in the congested Egyptian capital.
"I am definitely with the people of Gaza, who isn't? But roads must be kept clear for people to go about their lives," he said.
MB calls for jihad, expatriates sympathize
Delivering a speech to a sea of demonstrators through a speaker, Muhammad Mahdi Aakif, Muslim Brotherhood chairman, called on Egyptians to join in a jihad against Israel.
"Fighting the enemy is the duty of all Muslims. As the Prophet said, the Muslim umma is like one body, if part of it is hurt, the rest of the body must come to its aid. Likewise are the Muslims present here today. We must go on a jihad to Palestine like our leader Salahudin-Saladin-did centuries ago," said Aakif.
MB member Mohamed el-Beltagy told demonstrators over the speaker that the MB presented to the government 10 demands which included an immediate stop of gas exports to Israel, the opening of the Rafah border, the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, and termination of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
A number of expatriates in Cairo also joined the protest, carrying signs accusing Israel of war crimes but keeping quite as Egyptians shouted slogans in Arabic.
I am here protesting with Egyptians because the Palestinian cause is a global one, and Israel's war crimes shame all citizens of the world who want peace and respect humanity.
James Williams, demonstrator
"I am here protesting with Egyptians because the Palestinian cause is a global one, and Israel's war crimes shame all citizens of the world who want peace and respect humanity," British-American James Williams told AlArabiya.net.
Asked about what he thought of the Muslim Brothers' call for jihad, Williams said that resistance is a natural reaction to what he called Israeli's atrocities on the Palestinians.
"I am against violence, but it is hard to expect countries in the region to take no action," he said.
Excitement and resentment reached higher levels as protesters burned the Israeli flag to make a statement against the Jewish state, with many shouting "Allahu Akbar"-God is Great-as they held high Palestinian and Egyptian flags.