Protest draws locals: UK graduate organizes justice and peace rally



By Nicole Schladt

Despite frigid temperatures, about 100 people gathered downtown Saturday to show their support for Egyptians who have been protesting President Hosni Mubarak’s regime in the Middle East.

The rally called for democracy and freedom of expression for all people, especially those participating in anti-government protests in Egypt.

“The movement in Egypt is a people’s movement,” Noha El-Maraghi, an Egyptian native and UK journalism graduate, said. “I think (the movement) is a common cause that everybody feels a connection to.”

El-Maraghi organized Saturday’s rally, which started out as a Facebook event and quickly garnered support throughout the community.

“I started out by inviting all of my friends on Facebook, and then it kind of snowballed into a huge event,” El-Maraghi said.

The rally drew a lively crowd carrying Egyptian flags and signs featuring slogans such as “Yes You Can,” and “Walk Like an Egyptian.” Several chanted, “A people united will never be defeated.”

Former Lexington Mayor Teresa Isaac spoke to the assembly outside the Fayette County courthouses during the rally.

“We are here today in Lexington to show our support for the people in Egypt to express their views freely,” Isaac said.

Terry Anderson, a former chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, also commented on the situation Saturday, praising his colleagues at Al Jazeera for continuing to report on the story in Egypt despite government resistance.

“We have all spent the last 12 days being amazed by what’s been going on in Cairo,” Anderson said.

El-Maraghi explained that this amazement is what ultimately led her to plan the rally in Lexington.

“We wanted to get up and do something about it,” El-Maraghi said.