Egypt Bars Gaza Protest, Arrests Opposition Organizers

As Strikes Continue, Cairo Increasingly Criticized for Gaza Closure

by Jason Ditz, January 02, 2009

With its small, perpetually closed border with the Gaza Strip, it is unsurprising that Egyptians as much as the rest of the Muslim world are up in arms about the ongoing Israeli attacks. But with President Hosni Mubarak’s government close with both the United States and Israel, the protests are generally organized by the opposition Muslim Brotherhood.

Both domestically and in other Arab nations, the Mubarak Administration is seen as complicit in the Israeli war. The government’s refusal to open the border amid a growing humanitarian crisis has only added fuel to the fire. Across the world, protesters are increasingly targeting Egyptian embassies in addition to American and Israeli ones in opposition to the attacks.

There is fear in the government that the opposition may use growing antiwar sentiment to undermine their position, and Mubarak is having none of it. Police blocked a rally today at Cairo’s Al-Fateh Mosque, and arrested 40 opposition members. They did allow some smaller rallies in other cities, but the message is clear: Cairo is not a place to oppose this war.

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