Egyptian Australians demand democracy


Egyptian Australians have marched on consulates here demanding a swift end to military rule and a smooth passage to democracy through this week’s elections.


Local Coptic Christians have also conducted church services to pray for an end to the bloodshed in Cairo.

Australia’s Coptic community gathering ahead of Egypt’s crucial election, hoping it will deliver greater freedom, in a country where these Christian minorities have long complained of persecution.

Coptic Priest Father Tadros Sharobeam told his congregation to have faith in God through these tough times.

“It is a hard time and we know it’s a hard time but we believe, my beloved, that Egypt has always been strong and we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ loves Egypt,” he said.

And the Copts know only too well the heavy price that’s been paid on Egypt’s rocky path to democracy. Last month, 27 of their own were killed in Cairo protests.

Father Macarius Wahba also highlighted those concerns.

“We know that there is a price to be paid and we are not scared of paying that price but let’s hope that it is not all in vain and there is change,” he said.

A plea that’s been echoed across the religious divide among Egyptian expatriates in Australia protesting outside Egyptian consulate.

They’ve demanded that Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd unequivocally condemn the latest military crackdown and support the immediate removal of Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Armed Forces.

They also want the United States to stop funding the country’s military.

Reham Maklad from the Egyptian Association for Change wants Australia’s leadership to take action.

“The message they are sending to the 85 million people in Egypt is we don’t want you to have democracy. You don’t deserve democracy. We will arm the dictators against you,” she said.

And while they’re eligible to vote, some plan to boycott the historic poll.

Egyptian- Australian Hanney Seylim does not believe that the elections are going to take place in a genuine way.

“We still believe that the corrupt regime is still in control somehow,” he said.

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