Egypt: labor repression amid Ikhwan crackdown

A mixed force of Egyptian Interior Ministry and military troops with armored bulldozers moved into the two protest camps maintained by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi shortly after dawn Aug. 14. The smaller camp in Nahda Square was cleared relatively quickly, but clashes raged for most of the day around the main camp near Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque—leaving at least 200 dead and 10 times as many wounded. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) put the death toll as high as 300, while authorities said some of the protesters were armed and that 43 members of the security forces were among the dead. Ikhwan leaders have been rounded up, and a 30-day state of emergency has been declared. Street clashes have spread to Alexandria and other cities, and vice president Mohamed ElBaradei has resigned in protest of the repression.

Another 65 were reported killed in the southern city of El-Menia (Minya), including two members of the security forces. Morsi supporters also have been unleashing their rage on Coptic Christians. Protesters threw firebombs at Mar Gergiss church in Sohag, a southern city with a large Coptic community, burning it down. Another two churches were attacked in El-Menia governorate, leaving them damaged by fire. The Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic rights group, accused the Ikhwan of “waging a war of retaliation” against the country’s Christians. (Middle East Online, Middle East Online, Egypt Independent, BBC News, Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, Aug. 14)

The repression against the Ikhwan protesters come two days after army troops in Ataqa, Suez governorate, used armored vehicles to break up a highway blockade by striking Suez Steel workers, launched in protest of the arrest of two of their leaders the previous day. Police forces arrested the two leaders, Raouf Abdel Khalik and Omar Youssef, after a complaint filed by Rafik El Daw, the company’s managing director, who accused them of inciting workers to strike.

The strike at Suez Steel, called to demand higher wages and a precentage of revenues, has been underway for three weeks now, and is supported by political groupings including the Revolutionary Socialists, who protested the use of military troops to break the workers’ demonstration. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information issued a statement condemning “the continuation of usage of violence from security forces against peaceful protests.” (Egypt Daily News, Arab Network for Human Rights Information-ANHRI via AllAfrica, MENA Solidarity Network, Aug. 12)

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  1. Robert Fisk gets it wrong on Egypt. Surprise!
    Well, the consistently appalling Robert Fisk has done it again. The headline on his latest from The Independent is “Cairo massacre: After today, what Muslim will ever trust the ballot box again?” Even the hed assumes that every Muslim is an Islamist of the Ikhwan variety, and he offers zero acknowledgement of Morsi’s undemocratic power-grabs and reactionary constitution that sparked the uprising against his rule. The way the idea is rendered in the text is even worse: “What Muslim seeking a state based on his or her religion will ever trust the ballot box again?”

    Please, stop already. Here in the West, we are all supposed to oppose efforts by conservative Christians to impose a “state based on their religion,” or those of Zionists in historic Palestine to maintain and expand a “state based on their religion.” But when conservative Muslims try to do the same thing in Egypt—hey, no problem! This “leftist” shilling for clerical reactionaries is rendered even more sickening by Fisk’s pathetic fawning for the blood-drenched Assad regime in Syria, which has for two years been carrying out repression on a scale that puts Egypt’s military rulers to shame—in the ostensible name of fighting Islamists backed by the Muslim Brotherhood!

    If Robert Fisk is its great icon, there is no “left” left that is worthy of the name.

  2. Egypt court dismisses charges against ElBaradei
    An Egyptian court on Oct. 26 threw out charges against former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, who served in the government set up by the military, and stepped down in protest of the violence directed at protesters. It was this abandonment of his post that gave rise to the charges of “betrayal of trust.” ElBaradei, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, has also served on the UN nuclear agency and was the co-leader of the secular National Salvation Front (NSF).

    From Jurist, Oct. 26. Used with permission.