Egypt: Workers tell the Field Marshal “time to go”

Demonstrations again filled Egypt’s streets on 27 January 2012, in a show of anger against the ruling military council. Enormous protests on 25 January filled Tahrir Square and cities across Egypt, dominated by chants for the end of military rule.

Groups of workers have been prominent in the streets, with dozens of factories announcing before 25 January that they would be mobilising for the protests. Workers at the Indorama mill in Shibin al-Kom decided at a meeting on 21 January they would demonstrate on 25 January following the failure of negotations with the government to solve the crisis at the company. After a long-running campaign by workers, including large numbers of strikes, a court ruled that the privatisation of the company should be overturned, but the government has so far refused to implement the decision.

Steel workers from the Ankosteel plant in Giza, and petroleum workers from Ebsco announced they would be joining the 25 January demonstrations, along with sacked workers from Petrojet. Workers from the Halawa Ready-Made Garment Company and Al-Nasr Garment Company in Alexandria, and workers from the giant Misr Spinning plant in Mahalla al-Kubra said they would be protesting to demand “the completion of the revolution, the end of military rule and the transfer of power to a civilian government as soon as possible.”

On 27 January, Al-Badil newspaper reported that thousands of workers swelled the ranks of demonstrators as they passed the main railway station in Alexandria, chanting “Strike, strike it’s our legitimate right – strike against hunger, strike against poverty” and “What does change mean? It means the Field Marshal has to go!”

Alexandria recently saw a strike by port workers against their military management. Thousands marched in an angry demonstration, shouting “down, down with military rule”.

 

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