Sunday, April 6, 2008

Textile workers strike in Egypt

KEFAYA!! The Pharaoh Has Got to Go!

"Thousands of Egyptians have demonstrated over rising prices, with some hurling bricks at police who responded with tear gas.....

"The government tried its best to deter people from participating," Ahmed Selah, a member of Egypt's Kefaya movement for change, said.

"There were television announcements every half-hour last night telling people we were traitors and warning people not to strike. You will even find that today is the first day in two years when you will not find queues at the bakery, and prices of certain goods have also decreased to give people the false impression there is no reason to strike."

In the end, hordes of riot police kept protesters off Cairo's main squares and plainclothes agents stopped any workers from striking at the Mahalla el-Kobra factory......

Classes cancelled

Kholoud Khalifa, an American University of Cairo student, said: "Many professors cancelled classes and from what I have heard, attendance was low at all the schools and universities in Cairo. I didn't attend because I wanted to participate in the strike."

Hundreds of students also demonstrated in other Cairo-based universities and in Helwan, 30km south of the capital, after skipping classes and chanting anti-government slogans.....

'We are fed up'

Ghadiga Madkoura, editor of the banned newspaper of the opposition Ghad party, said: "We are fed up."....

"This is a peaceful protest with credible demands, there doesn't need to be so much military security," said Khaled Mohammed Awad, an Egyptian lawyer.

"Why has President Mubarak not given any statement over the radio and television to at least acknowledge this protest?" he said.

"In Europe they go out and ask people their opinions; here they surround them with security."
Kefaya campaigners, who were present at the lawyers' syndicate protest, said that this was only the beginning of an intense period of strikes and demonstrations.

"They said Kefaya was dead," Karima el-Hifnawy, a Kefaya activist, said. "But this is only a start of a revolution."

In Mahalla too, the textile workers have vowed to continue protesting."

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