A rally in support of the anti-government protests in Egypt will begin at noon Saturday in downtown Seattle's Westlake Park.
One of the organizers is Alaa Badr, an Egyptian American who has been in the United States for 17 years. He works for Microsoft and lives in Issaquah with his wife and three children. Lately, he says, they've been staying up till one in the morning watching Al Jazeera.
"But then we get up again at 5 a.m., just to see what's happened, because of the time difference," he says.
He's worried. Most of his family is in Egypt. But right now there's no way to talk to any of them. The government has shut down all communications. All they can do is watch the news, which Badr says fills him with mixed emotions -- both fear and hope.
"On one hand, delighted that people are finally speaking out against the authoritarian rule and quite honestly tyrannical regime that's just been in place forever. On the other, concerned about the people that are on the streets, facing riot police," says Badr.
Unconfirmed reports say dozens have been killed in the clashes between demonstrators and police.
Rallies supporting the Egyptian demonstrators are scheduled all over the world this weekend, including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Istanbul.
The organizers in Seattle are calling for:
- President Mubarak to leave Egypt so fair elections can be held
- Freedom – of speech, press, personal communication, religion
- Equal rights for all
- Lifting of the state of emergency
- Tangible economic improvement (for the millions living in poverty)
They also want to lend moral support to the demonstrators in Egypt, encourage more accurate news reporting, and call on U.S. politicians to withdraw support for the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Details for Seattle's rally
When: Saturday, January 29, 12:00 - 3 p.m.
Where: Westlake Park, 4th Avenue and Pine Street, Downtown Seattle
Badr suggests the following links for accurate updates on the protests in Egypt:
You also can get streaming video with live updates from Al Jazeera here