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Protests and workers’ strikes put pressure on Egypt’s rulers

This article is over 10 years, 8 months old
Sit-ins in support of ex-president Mohamed Mursi continue and a crackdown on workers has sparked solidarity, says Anne Alexander
Issue 2366
Suez canal workers protesting in 2008. They gave support to steel workers under attack from the government last week
Suez canal workers protesting in 2008. They gave support to steel workers under attack from the government last week (Pic: Hossam el-Hamalawy/flickr)

Egypt’s military regime has announced the end of negotiations over sit-ins by tens of thousands supporting former president, Mohamed Mursi. 

Mass protests forced out Mursi last month and the army took over.

The government also set dates for the trial of Muslim Brotherhood leaders who are accused of incitement to murder protesters.

Yet smashing the protest camps by force will not provide an easy way out of the crisis for the regime. 

Mursi’s supporters have continued to mobilise tens of thousands in almost daily marches around Cairo and smaller numbers in the provinces. 

The Brotherhood has lost much of its mass appeal, but this is too large a movement to be snuffed out overnight.

The regime also faces pressure from other directions, particularly from the workers’ movement. 

A series of successful strikes in the textile industry blew the lid off attempts to convince workers to wait patiently for promised reforms. 

Activists in the independent unions have launched a new campaign. 

They are calling on the new government implement workers’ demands, including the minimum and maximum wage and the reinstatement of sacked workers.

The army raised the temperature further by surrounding a strike at Suez Steel and arresting two workers’ leaders on Monday of this week. 

The crackdown immediately triggered a solidarity campaign. A statement signed by port workers, seafarers, airport workers, textile workers and revolutionary groups condemned the arrests. 

It accused the new government of using “the ‘war on terrorism’ as a pretext for dropping demands for social justice”.

Read the statement at

Activists in Bahrain were braced for a wave of repression as protesters mobilised for demonstrations on Wednesday of this week.

Opposition groups expected the protests to be the largest for months. This is despite mass arrests, torture and intimidation by the authorities.

The regime has recently attacked Bahrain’s Shia majority.


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