Sunday, June 30, 2013

Never-Ending Revolutionary Revival In Egypt

Protests in Alexandria on Sunday. (Dina El Halawany/YJI)

By Jessica Elsayed
Associate Editor

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The long anticipated 30th of June is here and people all over the world are watching, including myself on an online live stream of Egyptian channels (Some channels through nine different split screens), Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds of friends already there.
Reporters have been describing the protests in the millions, as the biggest in the history of Egypt, even bigger than those in January 2011. Some news sources even claim that these have been “the largest number of protesters in a political event in the history of mankind.”
June 30th was declared by The Tamarod (Rebel) Campaign as a day for all Egyptians to come together for a unified goal, an e
lement missing in many previous demonstrations. Tamarod has gathered over 22 million signatures of Egyptians ready to impeach and rebel against Morsi. It also asked protestors to chant only against the Muslim Brotherhood and hold only flags of Egypt to ensure unity among a people who since the initial revolt on January 25, 2011 have grown more and more divided.
Today’s demonstrations are one of hundreds that have taken place since Morsi has been in power. However, there is an element the others lacked. Today, people are united in huge numbers for one unified purpose: to the end the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and claim Egypt once more.  Once again the protests flood with women and men, elders and children, and people of all faiths.
Among the crucial factors of today’s demonstrations is how widespread they are throughout Egypt. Most news sources will air or show pictures from only Cairo and Alexandria. People have packed the streets completely in front of the Presidential Palace, in squares, in front of their homes and even in Paris, Sydney, Toronto, Washington and Austria, places where many Egyptian expats live.
Today, in Egypt, people in Suez, in Mansoura, in Mahala, in Tanta, in Port Said and so many more have taken to the streets one more time.
Many have tried to give the Muslim Brotherhood and the person they nominated for president, Mohamed Morsi, a chance to demonstrate his ability to lead post-revolution Egypt.
However, Morsi has failed all of Egypt, furthermore, his Brotherhood has committed heinous crimes betraying a people’s whose revolution gave him freedom from jail.
Muslim Brotherhood loyalists have tortured innocents, arrested journalists and created an Egypt which only they own. Worst of all, they have divided the people into good and bad, Muslim and atheist (which is used an insult), pro-God and the Brotherhood or anti-God. This is not the reality the people in the streets today are willing to accept and despite all threats, peacefully march to get their voice heard.
The government has been using the same misleading, conspiracy theories and labeling techniques as former leader Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship regime. Morsi’s minions stubbornly  insist that everyone against them is out to destroy the country’s stability, claiming they are motivated by an unknown outside source.
Morsi gave an almost three-hour long speech Wednesday warning people and brandishing his non-existent “accomplishments” to a cheering crowd. Fortunately, this speech further infuriated the people and drove more people to take matters into their own hands.
The same streets that brought down a dictator of 30 years will bring down Morsi because there is one thing Morsi’s argument of “legitimacy through the election box” lacks,: it is that the people own that legitimacy.
In the spirit of unity, it must also be said that there are many who blindly support the Brotherhood and there is another relatively big pro-Morisi demonstration. There are also many in the demonstrations who are pro-Mubararak and took to the streets to voice their anger against the Brotherhood.
 However, Mubarak and Morsi are different faces of the same coin, one that Egypt will no longer stand for.  It is more than angry protests, it is an ongoing collective demand to the overthrow of this regime
Egyptians have not tackled one modern Pharaoh to allow the rise of the next . Today’s demonstrations signal that the end is very near.
What happens next? A referendum?  Violence? A military take over? No one knows for sure.
Whatever that “next” thing is, though, it will be met by an unstoppable force: the people.  And the people will prevail.

Read up on the revolution. Links to YJI's comprehensive, award-winning coverage are here.

Egyptians Protesters Want A New President

Dina El Halawany /
Protesters in the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, on Sunday.
 By Dina El Halawany
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt – People are gathering in front of the train station in the Sidi Gaber section of the city, demanding that President Mohamed Morsi leave office.
Holding Egyptian flags and signs asking the president to leave, the crowd seems hopeful, strong and determined. The event is peaceful, and participants are kind and helpful.

I felt safe there. Everyone seems to want the same thing – a new election and a new president.
Morsi has been in office a little more than a year. Though his term is four years, protesters don’t want to wait that long. They want a presidential election soon.
Dina El Halawany /
Protesters wave Egyptian flags in front of the train station in the Sidi Gaber section of Alexandria on Sunday.

Egypt Rises Again, For 'Safety And Freedom'
Protesters in Alexandria, Egypt on Sunday
By Dina El Halawany

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt – Here we are on the 30th of June, an exceptional day where, finally, a beam of light will shine through the darkness.
It's not only the beginning of a new revolution, but also the day we've been impatiently waiting for.
The name of this revolution is "Rebel," which began as a campaign which was launched in late April by members of the opposition in Egypt.
It aimed to gather 15 million signatures throughout Egypt before June 30 demanding the departure of President Mohammad Morsi and asking for early presidential elections. It got more than 22 million.
Those people are now standing in the street holding signs asking Morsi to leave because almost nothing has been accomplished under his leadership to achieve the goals of the Jan. 25 revolution.
There is no justice, no national independence and protesters are dying just because they're standing for what they believe in. There is still economic instability, reduced production rates of oil and natural gas, and electrical shortages throughout Egypt’s cities.
Now Egyptian citizens are gathering in famous public gathering spots such as Tahrir Square in Cairo and Adaweya Square in Nasr City, along with many others throughout the country.
Those people won't leave until their demands are met because they have given up on the current president. He has hasn't worked hard enough to meet the responsibility that he was given to lead this great country. Some people who are on Morsi's side, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, are claiming that people who are protesting today are against Islam or were supporters of the previous president. They’re totally wrong.
It's not about the religion. Just because people are standing against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood doesn't make them anti-Islam. Most are proud Muslims.
And now we'll all stand together, Muslims and Christians, all hand-in-hand, for Egypt's sake and for all those who died trying to make a difference.
Egypt deserves so much better. It has always been the land of safety and freedom. So we will keep fighting for our country.
Read up on the revolution. Links to YJI's comprehensive, award-winning coverage are here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Supreme Court's Ruling Is A Step Forward

By Aiman Jarrar
Junior Reporter
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, U.S.A. – Wednesday marked a historic victory for the gay community and liberals everywhere when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same sex couples who are married are guaranteed the same benefits as heterosexual couples.
The court also ruled that California’s law prohibiting same sex marriage is unconstitutional.
It is a remarkable step forward in guaranteeing the same civil rights in regards to marriage for all persons, but it is not good enough.
We must legalize same sex marriage as a nation.
The Supreme Court also implied that states have a right to decide whether or not they will allow same sex marriage. However, in a state where sex marriage is legal, those couples must have the same rights that those in a heterosexual marriage do.
So the Supreme Court left it up to the states to decide, and conservatives are still not happy. That is where the problem lies. Conservatives are all for state’s rights, aren’t they?
Not in this case apparently, as the Republican uproar from this ruling has been nothing but slamming the court’s ruling.
While Democrats and the gay community rejoice, the party that is stuck in the 1950s has had another major setback to their agenda. While Republicans say they stand for constitutional rights and protecting the Constitution, they are constantly hypocritical in cases like these.
The problem isn’t with citizens believing in what they want, but when they try to force those beliefs on others who don’t share the same views.
With the court’s ruling, we have taken a step forward as a nation. We as citizens have certain unalienable rights that cannot be denied. Marriage for same sex couples is one of them.
Therefore, the Supreme Court should have ruled that any legislation banning same sex marriage is unconstitutional.
Supporters of marriage equality wanted same sex marriage to be legalized nationwide. This is a landmark victory for us, but there is still work to be done. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Brazilian Protesters Try To Stay Peaceful

Pamela Castilho Cohene /
Hundreds of protesters in Curitiba took to the streets June 18.
By Pamela Castilho
CURITIBA, Paraná, Brazil – In recent weeks, the eyes of the world have been on Brazil, the stage of many protests, and the nation hosting some of the world's top upcoming sporting events, including next year's World Cup.
Earlier this month, just days before the June15 beginning of the Confederations Cup, the city of São Paulo saw five protests against an increase in the bus fare from R$ 3,00 (approximately USD $1.39) to R$ 3,20 (approximately USD $1.49).
Last week, the capital of the state of São Paulo hosted one more protest, which was peaceful. Many people have been hurt and many more arrested.
Publicist Diego Hernandez Guarani, 25, was one of them. In an interview, Hernandez said he was one of the first 20 protesters arrested.
Pamela Castilho Cohene /

June 18 protesters in Curitiba urge tourists not to support the upcoming World Cup.
“I was slapped on the face a few times without a need. I didn't say a word to them any time or said something offensive. They didn’t hurt me physically, only morally,” Guarani said. “The treatment was truculent. We were trapped and they arrived shooting, pointing guns, cursing and hitting, totally unnecessary. When we asked why they were arresting us, they called us vandals and said that we had plundered and insulted them.”
Hernandez posted a full account of what happened the day he went to the protest in São Paulo on social networks:
“… Next to me, there were more like 20 people, all trying to recover from the bomb effects. Some felt really sick, but everyone was helping themselves. There, quiets, we saw the march pass, we heard the bomb noises going to an end and we saw that white smoke master everything. “Phew, it was over.” It was just wait, fully recover from all the burning and go away, each one to their ways. Silly mistake! The police came up, looked at us, brandished their weapons and went where we were, shouting, “Tramp, take the cloth out of your face!” I took a slap. “Take off your hat,” and another slap. They made us kneel down, searched our backpacks, searched us, lined us up and put us inside a police car. Yes, we were arrested! “For what?” I asked, but they didn’t answer. “For what?” asked a tall man wearing a two-piece suit with his mobile recording everything. He was handcuffed and arrested. He stayed beside me in the police car. A girl was feeling really bad, asthmatic without her pump and nervous, she was having an asthma attack, but she was arrested with us…”
In the interview, Hernandez said he found out about the protests on the internet June 18.
“What I saw on Tuesday was quite disgusting and I couldn’t stay at home anymore. I needed to see for myself, I needed to be there. I was scared. My cousin had called me and told me she had dreamed with me running, fleeing like a war. She constantly told me not to go, but I felt that I had to go and I went. And what is on the text [posted on the social networks] happened.”

The country gets united

Stories like the one Hernandez tells spread quickly on the internet and caused commotion in several Brazilian cities.
In the city of Curitiba, protesters came out several times in support of São Paulo.
A peaceful protest on June 14 drew 700 people. Leaving the historic section of Boca Maldita and walking until the Iguaçu Palace, protesters held signs and chanted shouts of support for São Paulo.
Hugo Juliano, one of the organizers of the movement in Curitiba, said the number of protesters grew online, with many taking part through a Facebook event created just a day earlier.
“We understand that the movement is peaceful. The movement articulates itself to be peaceful,” Juliano said. “We have the same purpose of fighting and defense against the fare and mainly against the government repression. The movements are coming together today, not only here in Curitiba, but in Brazil and worldwide. This is a fight for citizenship and the government representation by the people. The fight is a re-occupation, it’s a re-discussion of democracy.”

Pamela Castilho Cohene /
Mirelle Camargo holds a sign in a Curitiba protest on June 14.
Mirelle Camargo, 20, a  student who attended the June 14 protest in Curitiba, said that during the walk she was called a vandal by a motorist.
“We were there protesting at the entrance of the Marechal Deodoro (a street of the city) and when we found cars with our posters, a man opened the car window and said, ‘This isn’t citizenship, it’s vandalism’ to me. Then, I put my poster up, which said, ‘We are citizens too.’ We also have rights,” she said.
“I think that São Paulo was a landmark for these awakening,” Camargo continued. “I hope that it continues to happen because the people in Curitiba are very conservative. We have to show that we still have face, that we have the power to speak up and ask for our rights, that we can still influence public decisions because we have power.”

Pamela Castilho Cohene /
Mirelle Camargo takes part in a June 18 protest in Curitiba.
Camargo said people who came to the June 14 demonstration in Curitiba left what they were doing and joined together.
“We stopped the traffic, many people saw, many people supported the same way as many people were against it. But it is like this, this is democracy, people can give their opinion, it’s the people being able to govern,” she said.

Social networks and the movement

Facebook users flocked to the Curitiba event page by the thousands – the São Paulo event page showed many more than that – and the numbers prompted organizers to warn protesters to be careful.
“ATTENTION ALL OF THE CURITIBA PROTESTERS: the last two acts didn’t have police presence and they were peaceful,” the organizers posted. “It’s possible that this time we have the police presence, but even so we’re going to keep the peace and cherish for the welfare of everybody WITHOUT VIOLENCE. And here comes the message: “Mr. Cop, come participate not ravish!”
Through social networks in Brazil, people shared photos, videos and other information in support of the movement and advice to anyone going to a future demonstration.
All kinds of people, many of them students, took to the streets June 17 in Curitiba, where bus fares also went up from R$2,60 (about USD $1.20) to R$2,85 (about USD $1.31).
The number of participants varies, depending on who is asked, but the June 17 protest was peaceful until people arrived at the Iguaçu Palace when a small group of people tried to break into the place and started provoke the cops.
Most of the protesters were against this and chanted, “No vandalism.” Military police, who put the crowd at 10,000 people, said it was almost completely orderly and peaceful, with nine arrests.

Pamela Castilho Cohene /
Protesters hold up a sign that says, "Brazil, the country of ball [soccer], champion of neglect."
At the end of the protest, some people who were against the vandalism made a barrier in front of the Iguaçu Palace gate trying to stop the invasion.
Brenon Fonseca, 18, a performing arts student living in Campo Largo, was one of the protesters. He came to Curitiba only to attend the protest.
“We started to talk to the riot police. We told them we were going to leave because the guys wanted to break into the place anyway and they would blame us. If they break into it, police would react and hit us. So we told them we were in peace and trying to hold on but we couldn’t. Then, me and my friends left. The guys wanted to break into the place and they were crazy. The riot police was cool and they were talking calmly. They just told that if they broke into the place, they were going to react.”
João Tadeu is a retired guard who attended the protest and touched many in the crowd with his angry speech.

Pamela Castilho Cohene /
Protester João Tadeu holds up his documents for
the crowd to see.
“I earn way less than minimum wage,” said Tadeu, who showed documents and working papers. “I worked my whole life for this? It’s not fair! I have three granddaughters and I can’t even afford school supplies for them! The public transport is also a shame, we work full day and got to go back home tight, upright and in a bad condition. We have to protest.”
As they passed by him, protesters cheered Tadeu, and some stopped to hear his speech.
The protests June 20 and 21 were the most violent. Even in the rain, about 1,000 people, according to the military police, took to the streets.
The original intention of the organizers was that people stayed in one spot only, without walking. However, many were walking around the city, protesting against corruption.
Protesters were divided, with some people going back to Iguaçu’s Palace, while others went to the Arena da Baixada stadium, where three matches of the 2014 World Cup will be played.
The group that went to Iguacu’s Palace arrived around 8 p.m. at the Praça Santos Andrade, a small park in the city. About 200 students, who were waiting for the protest on the steps of the Federal University of Paraná met the protesters.

Pamela Castilho Cohene /
Rodrigo Resende, a student of Federal University of Paraná, at a June 18 protest, on the steps of the university.

At that moment, protesters sang the national anthem in chorus. The movement then split again and most people went to the Iguaçu’s Palace, where tehre was a confrontation between police and protesters.
Many protesters were disoriented and not know which way to run when the confusion started shortly after 9 p.m.
Vandals damaged bus stops and public buildings, including City Hall and the Court of Auditors.
Protesters who went to the stadium encountered “Os Fanáticos,” an organized group of supporters of the football team Atlético Paranaense.
A suspicion that other crowd, “Impéro,” – affiliated with the team Coritiba Football Club – would have infiltrated the protesters to incite them to vandalize the stadium, spurred conflict between the groups, who have a long history of rivalry.
The result was an altercation with firecrackers, stones and pieces of wood, and many people were scared and did not know where to run.
The confrontation, which began close to 8 p.m., went on for about an hour, only ending with the presence of the military police.
Though another protest was expected Saturday morning, people instead went to work in the streets, cleaning up the mess left by the vandals.
Translated from the original Portugese by Rafaela Guimarães.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Young People In Brazil Protest In The Streets

Police and protesters clash in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Slideshow of more photos of protests in Sao Paulo, Brazil

By Vinicius Ferreira
Reporter and Photographer
Youth Journalism International

CURITIBA, BRAZIL – For the first time in more than 20 years, young people are waking up to protest for their rights.
Protester injured by tear gas
in Sao Paulo.
Following the Arab Spring and growing unrest in Turkey, Brazilians are rising as well to push for a better life.
Many are unhappy with the high cost of hosting the World Cup and
Olympics in the near future, which is draining money from public coffers that’s needed for health care and education.
The anger of some demonstrators expressed decades of neglect by their political representatives.
Starting a week ago in São Paulo, the streets have become a battleground between protesters and riot police.
Officers have responded to stones with rubber bullets, tear gas and clubs against those who are opposing corruption and seeking better public transport, hospitals and schools.
Though it began over a small bus fare hike, that was only the beginning.
What we are seeing are youths disgusted with the country’s current situation.
It is Arab Spring spreading worldwide.

Lone protester in Curitiba, Brazil fights back.