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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