George Ishaq, the National Association for Change (NAC) coordinator, organized activists on Thursday at Port Said beaches to gather signatures on Mohamed ElBaradei’s pro-reform petition.
The activists began the campaign at a mosque near the beach, and covered the distance along the shore to the location where, in 1967, the Israeli naval ship “Eilat” was destroyed. The beach was full of vacationers, most of whom signed the reform petition.
When he arrived at the beach, Ishaq was hugged by a bearded young man, who said, “I want to shake hands with you. I swear to God that we love you.”
Ishaq introduced himself and the NAC and the campaigners. “Do you accept the conditions in our country?” he asked. “We would like to improve these bad conditions. Here are our demands.” He then distributed the statements outlining the NAC’s seven demands for change.
“Yes, we want change. We’re fed up,” said Mervat Saleh, 46, as she signed the petition ahead of several other people.
Ishaq then spoke with a group of veiled women, one of whom, a Port Said resident, called out, “Thumbs up to ElBaradei,” before signing the petition.
Another young man claimed that he had been waiting for the campaigners to visit his home. He then presented his ID and signed the petition.
One young man voiced his dissent, saying “I’m from the National Democratic Party. This is my land, so get out of here.” However, he left after Ishaq replied, “This is our land. Your party should leave. Do you want to usurp the beach as well?”
Another group declined to sign, stating hopelessly that the present government “cannot be defeated.”
Ishaq replied, “This is our country, and we deserve to live like the rest of the world. Would you accept it if your sons were arrested for no reason because we have the Emergency Law? We can surely save our country if we gather a million signatures.”
Translated from the Arabic Edition.