So there are several people who are either from Egypt or their families are or what not who have been organizers and activists in San Francisco and they called a rally today at 12pm. I headed down to where I thought it was being held but didn't see anyone except for a group of pro-choice demonstrators. I headed to the nearest Starbucks to hop on their wi-fi and got the correct location. As I was heading back I saw that a couple people were waving Eyptian flags. For background on why this rally was held, and the hopes of revolutionary activists to counter the Islamist trend in Egypt, see mikslvr's entry on this site "Revolution Interrupted ? ... Egypt's President Morsi grants his office new powers above and beyond everybody else". I recall at some point that protests against Morsi's assumption of special powers were partially successful but I must confess that I'm not sure what exactly has transpired and what is slated for the future in regard to the parliamentary elections and the ratification of the new constitution. Here, however, is the text from what the demonstrators handed out today:
NO to Morsi's Constitution. Egypt Deserves Better!
The proposed constitution is a step towards the creation of another Iran. Morsi's human rights record is the same as Mubarak's and his constitution is no better.
*No international or multi party oversight of elections. No guarantee against rigging the elections.
*Gives the president more powers than Mubarak ever had.
*Allows the army to try civilians in mock military courts, 10,000 are still in prison since the revolution started.
*Opens the door to clergymen applying Sharia. The 1971 constitution states that Shareya is the main souce of laws and rights. The new constitution puts it in the hands of clergy, senate, and law makers with no delineation of boundaries.
*Speaks about general citizenship but it has no explicit language against religious discrimination.
*Likewise, it has no explicit language against gender discrimination at work, education, financial, etc.
*Does not protect children from child labor or human trafficking. It does not even define the legal age of children, thus opening the door for Salafi's to allow girls' marraige at age 10.
*In a country where Mubarak's regime was built on torture the new constitution does not contain an explicit article against all forms of torture (article 36 refers to jails only and does not protect citizens in general).
*Changes parliamentary election laws in favor of political parties and against individual incumbents.
So, I talked with a couple of folks for a while, including another person who regularly shows up to various events to livestream them. One person there gave me a link to a talk and q&a posted on Youtube which I haven't watched yet but here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fli3fMoaBL0 Fair warning: this is a little over two hours long.
After leaving the Ferry Plaza I headed up Market St. and was surprised by the fact that the rally I saw earlier in the day was only a prelude. The antiabortion people had a huge number of people marching down Market St. True, as one counter-demonstrator I talked with pointed out, a lot of them were schoolkids bussed in with their parents and school groups and what not. Nevertheless, the size of the rally was astonishing. There was a small group of folks counter-demonstrating and I tried to do my part by shouting a few things at the crowd. I asked one cop why they weren't writing tickets for "lodging" (like they did with Occupy SF @ 101 Market) and his response was "We'll deal with that later."
I didn't take any pics of the Egypt rally, but here's some of the anti-abortion rally. Also, for those in SF on Monday Occupy will be holding a flash-mob action at the 101 Market site (empty since raided a month ago or so), with the focus set on demonstrating solidarity with Idle No More. Of course, there has been some debate over this and even within the indigenous communities of Canada over Idle No More itself, but at this point organizers are I believe correct in sensing that an attempt must be made to regalvanize the movement.