Egyptian activists get 38,000 to sign online petition

Despite statewide Internet blackout thousands sign petition dictated over the phone during few hours cell phone service restored.

By EHUD ZION WALDOKS
February 3, 2011 04:22
2 minute read.
Egyptian protesters demonstrate

Egypt protest soldiers 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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Nearly 38,000 people have already signed a petition on Change.org that was dictated over the phone during the few hours cell phone service had been restored in Egypt since demonstrations began on January 25.

Taking advantage of the respite from the lack of mobile phone and Internet networks, two enterprising Egyptian activists used an ally to launch a petition calling for President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster and democratic elections.

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The online petition, signed by the “January 25 Movement,” says “On January 25, we the people of Egypt took to the streets to demand our rights! We are not unified by one party, class or religion: we are not Muslim and we are not Christian, we are not rich and we are not poor – we are the multifaceted people of Egypt – Muslims and Christians and Egyptians of all classes.”

The young man and woman, who have asked to remain nameless for fear of arrest, call for the resignation of the president and parliament, the institution of a constitution, free and fair elections, the release of all political prisoners, and the resumption of communication networks. They also demand an end to police shootings and brutality.

After the successful use of Internet, text messages and social networking during the popular uprisings in Iran in the summer of 2009, the Egyptian regime was quick to shut down communications networks in a failed attempt to disrupt the daily demonstrations.

“What happened here is incredible,” said Change.org’s CEO Ben Rattray. “In the midst of a national uprising and without any access to the most basic tools of communication, two young street activists have managed to mobilize tens of thousands of supporters in more than 100 countries to help them push for reform.

“Change.org is about empowering local activists to make meaningful social change, and it’s been an honor to support this inspiring and important campaign.”



“We are the January 25 movement, and we are not going to stop until our demands are met! We call on Egyptians and internationals to lend a hand and help us win by signing this petition, which will be sent to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, officials in the interior and foreign ministries, and Egyptian embassies all over the world,” the petition in English and Arabic concludes.

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