Thousands of Occupy Wall Street supporters gathered in Washington Square Park on Saturday afternoon for a General Assembly intended to spread the movement's message. After several introductory speakers, the crowd lit up when an Egyptian activist named Mohammed Ezzeldin explained what he saw was the connection between Occupy Wall Street and the protests against Hosni Mubarak.
"I am coming from there -- from the Arab Spring. From the Arab Spring to the fall of Wall Street," Ezzeldin said, his voice echoed by the crowd of thousands. "From Liberation Square to Washington Square, to the fall of Wall Street and market domination, and capitalist domination."
His passionate speech, which even included a reference to Karl Marx, made a startling comparison between what happened in Egypt earlier this year and what is now happening in the United States.
"Many things separate us," he said. "National borders. Homeland insecurities. Armies, corporations and police. They have their laws. They have their debts. And we have our revolution. We are the 99 percent."
Ezzeldin, a 28-year-old self-described "leftist activist" who is currently living in Jackson Heights and studying at the City University of New York's Graduate Center, told HuffPost he was camped out in Tahrir Square just a few months ago and is now spending days in Zuccotti Park.
"There are some differences," he said, but he believes "any success for the struggle in the United States is helpful for the rest of the world."
Ezzeldin argued that making the protests more confrontational and bringing in labor unions will be critical for the success of the movement in the United States.
"There is an illusion about freedom -- about freedom of speech and freedom of organization in this country," he observed, pointing to New York's laws against tents and megaphones. "What I thought the image exported to the rest of the world... Well, it's not completely false but there are many obstacles."
As for the NYPD's response to demonstrations so far, Ezzeldin was philosophical. "Police is the police, in Egypt, in the United States. Police is the police. There is no good cops and bad cops, they are all cops," he said.
Relations between police and demonstrators at Saturday afternoon's gathering were cordial.
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