Flash: Egyptian Students and Supporters Demonstrate on U.C. Berkeley Campus

Thursday February 03, 2011 - 12:45:00 PM

A small but heartfelt demonstration engaged UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza lunch hour throngs mid-day on Thursday as Egyptian students and their supporters staged a die-in at Sather Gate to support anti-Mubarak protesters in Egypt. 

At about 12:30 there were about 75 individuals participating in the protest which blocked the center arch of Sather Gate. Pedestrians could still move through the two side archways. Some of the demonstrators lay with Egyptian flags. A wide arc of curious spectators formed on the Sproul Plaza side. 

Some demonstrators held signs, some lay on the ground at the end of Sproul Plaza, and others handed out literature. Individuals rose from among the "dead" to make brief speeches, several talking about their families or friends in Egypt and their own fears about what might happen if the Mubarak government continues to suppress demonstrations there, or if they tried to return to Egypt. 

Several tied their concerns to a demand that United States aid to Egypt be suspended during the crisis. "What we're asking is that the international community create pressure, raise awareness, and let people know what's going on", one said, as others called "Lay down in Solidarity with Egypt!" 

"Our tax dollars shouldn't be used to stifle democratic dissent abroad", said another. "Every human being has the right to assembly. Berkeley students proved that here." 

"This is serious, we need to act now", said another. "The U.S. talks about democracy all the time. This is your chance to act." 

"No justice, no peace! Egypt must be free!" the demonstrators chanted. "Down! Down! with Mubarak!" 

Fliers handed out by the protestors urged readers to "Stand in Solidarity with Egyptians And Denounce Mubarak's Human Rights Violations" and provided a rough timeline of recent events in Egypt. "We have created a facebook page titled "Calling International Support for the Egyptian People" one of the fliers added. 

Many in the watching crowd seemed sympathetic, others merely curious. "There's some sort of demonstration going on", one shorts-clad student was saying into his cell phone as he pushed through the side of the crowd. "Buncha people lying on the ground."