Local Egyptian-Americans gather for vigil in SJ

August 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
In Egypt the death toll continues to rise. More than 630 people have been killed in the violence following a crackdown on camps that housed supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi. The crackdown has prompted more clashes across Cairo and other cities. More than 4,000 people have been injured.

To honor those who have died, Egyptian-Americans gathered in San Jose Thursday night. They are mourning those who have been killed and they are worried about those still in danger.

More than 100 people packed a San Jose sidewalk. They held candles and American and Egyptian flags, and shared stories of the country they still have high hopes for.

Sadness and death are the reasons so many showed up. They stood at the corner of Winchester and Stevens Creek Boulevard in San Jose silently holding candles while their thoughts were on Egypt.

Hundreds have died on the streets during violent protests, including Santa Clara resident Karim Aboulkheir's friend who was shot to death.

"He was a doctor, so he decided to go help people as much as possible, unfortunately he died," said Aboulkheir.

The clashes between Egypt's military and protestors have escalated since Morsi was ousted. Just about everyone who showed up in San Jose has been touched by the violence so far away. Santa Clara resident Ahmed Ragab's brother-in-law was fatally shot in Cairo on Wednesday.

"He was very kind, decent person. He never held a weapon. He doesn't even know how to use one," said Ragab.

The father of two was an engineer. He'd decided to attend a protest Wednesday morning in Rabaa Square. It turned deadly there a short time later.

"I am angry for losing a very good person, for losing a brother," said Ragab.

Anger, disappointment and fear fill the hearts of those who attended the vigil. Many left Egypt years ago, but still consider it home -- and seeing their home ripped apart is horrifying.

"People are being killed over differences of political opinion which is devastating. I never thought things would get that bad," said Sunnyvale resident Hend Seddeek.

No one did. And that's why they ended tonight with these simple words, "God be with you and your loved ones."

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