The Chicago Tribune reports:
About a year ago, Wael Elfeqy waited in a long line to cast his ballot for Egypt’s first democratically elected president. His candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won the election but was removed from office and jailed last week when the military seized power.
“We were so proud,” said Elfeqy, a physical therapist from southwest suburban Justice who travels frequently to Egypt, where he was born. “We were so proud of our democracy, and these guys stole it from us.”
While thousands rallied in the streets of Egypt both for and against Morsi’s ouster, Elfeqy was among hundreds of pro-Morsi demonstrators who protested Sunday on the Magnificent Mile, outside Chicago’s Egyptian Consulate. The protesters lined the sidewalks, many waving U.S. and Egyptian flags and holding homemade signs denouncing Egypt’s military and interim leadership.
Egyptian military officials say the country’s acting leadership is preparing for a new round of elections, but many of those gathered Sunday in Chicago fear a return to an autocratic government like the one protesters toppled in 2011. [...]
“I consider myself an American, and democracy is extremely important to me,” said Ghada Fahmy, who emigrated from Egypt when she was 6 months old. “When Egypt went in that direction, we were hysterical with happiness.”
Many say the events of the last week, occurring just before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins Monday evening, put a damper on the democratic spirit that they hoped would take hold in Egypt and spread through the region. But for Hammouda, a Muslim, there was at least some solace in knowing that the holiday was approaching.
“It comes at the right time,” he said, “because we’ll be doing extra prayers and have extra closeness to God.”