The military regime in Egypt is carrying out a serious crackdown on socialists and activists who played leading roles in the 2011 revolution.
“The counter-revolution is showing its teeth,” said Wassim Wagdy, an Egyptian Revolutionary Socialist currently living in Britain. “It has been killing the Muslim Brotherhood. Now it wants to put us away.”
At least 2,665 people have been killed since the military coup last July, according to a human rights report issued last week. That is more than twice the number who died during the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Revolutionaries face a wave of arrests under a new anti-protest law. On Sunday ten activists in Cairo, among them brother and sister Alaa Abdel-Fatah and Mona Seif, received sentences of one year, suspended for three years.
Revolutionary Socialists Mahienour El-Massry and Hassan Mostafa in Alexandria were sentenced to two years in prison on Thursday of last week, along with four other activists. They were charged with organising a protest without permission under the new protest law and attacking security forces.
Mahienour and Hassan could be taken into custody at any time. Wassim said, “The police know where Mahienour and Hassan are—they are the most high profile revolutionaries in the city.” The arrests come against the backdrop of a campaign of attacks on the revolutionaries who have stood up against the military and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The media has denounced the Revolutionary Socialists as enemies of the state and “fifth columnists” working with foreigners. One private satellite channel, Al Kahera Wal Nas, has even broadcast tapped private phone conversations between targeted activists.
The TV host Abdel-Rehim Ali claims he has 5,000 such recordings he will release.
Wassim said the attacks are more bitter because “sections of the left—in particular the Stalinist left—are supporting and sometimes celebrating the counter-revolution.” The regime wants to snuff out the revolution using the same repression that maintained Mubarak.
“The revolution broke the wall of fear of the power of the police and the state,” said Wassim. “But walls of fear can be rebuilt. That’s what the state is trying to do now. If the revolution doesn’t go forward it will go back.”
Mahienour is defiant. “The state keeps imagining that with its laws, prisons, and dogs it can protect itself,” she said. “But even if you gather all of us in prison, the revolution will continue.”
When the state has attacked revolutionaries in the past international solidarity has made a difference. Such solidarity is vital today.
Sign the statement calling for the release of all political detainees bit.ly/198m6YT
Mena Solidarity protest, 2pm, Saturday 25 January, Egyptian Embassy, 26 South St, London W1K 1DW menasolidaritynetwork.com