Dozens of leading activists in the British public sector trade unions on strike on May 10 against cuts in their pensions signed a statement in solidarity with detainees arrested during the recent crackdown on protest by the military in Egypt.
Signatories include the General Secretary of the PCS union representing civil servants, Mark Serwotka, and transport workers’ union leader Bob Crow, as well as Labour MP, John McDonnell.
The statement also highlights the case of 8 activists who are facing a two-year jail sentence for participating in a protest against a horrific sectarian attack on a Coptic Christian church on New Years’ Day 2011. Mohamed Atef, Mostafa Mohie Al-Din, Mostafa Shawky, Mohamed Nagy, Tamer Elsady, Ahmed Refaat, Diaa Elden Ahmed and Amr Ahmed took part in a demonstration in Cairo against a bomb attack on a church in Alexandria which left dozens dead. Mubarak’s police attacked the protest and arrested the activists, who were later charged with rioting and assaulting police personnel. The case was adjourned to allow further investigations before the revolution. However, the case was recently revived, and a court handed down a two-year prison sentence against the defendents. An appeal against the sentence is due to be heard on 13 May. [Read more here]
Statement in solidarity with Egyptian protesters attacked by the military at Abbassiya – Add your name here
Once again, Egypt’s military rulers have failed to protect peaceful protesters from murderous assaults by plainclothed thugs, and then turned their own brutal violence against demonstrations in response to the attack. On 28 April and 2 May Islamist activists protesting against the military-appointed Electoral Commission’s decision to exclude their candidate from the presidential elections were attacked outside the Ministry of Defence, and at least 13 were killed, according to official sources. Then a march by thousands of protestors in solidarity with the sit-in on Friday 4 May was met with tear gas, water cannons, beatings, bullets and mass arrests. By 5 May over 300 people had been detained according to human rights activists. Dozens are already being referred to military courts for trial. According to the Front to Defend Egyptian Protesters, the military also targeted journalists for arrest and randomly seized people passing through the area around the Ministry of Defence. There are also reports of protesters beaten and arrested on solidarity demonstrations in other Egyptian cities.
This assault by the military is no aberration, but the extension of other repressive policies including the criminalisation of strikes and protests and the systematic use of military courts against civilians. Cases brought against protesters by the Mubarak regime have been revived, such as the prosecution of Mohamed Atef, Mostafa Mohie Al-Din, Mostafa Shawky, Mohamed Nagy, Tamer Elsady, Ahmed Refaat, Diaa Elden Ahmed and Amr Ahmed on trumped-up charges relating to their participation in a protest against the sectarian attack on the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Day 2011.
It comes at a time when Egyptians from across the political spectrum are mobilising to demand that the military respects the authority of their democratically-chosen representatives and returns to the barracks.
We call on the Egyptian military and civilian authorities to:
- Release all those detained during recent events
- End the practice of using military courts to try civilians
- Drop the charges against Mohamed Atef, Mostafa Mohie Al-Din, Mostafa Shawky, Mohamed Nagy and their co-defendants
- Repeal laws criminalising strikes and protests
- Repeal the law allowing the Military Council to veto decisions taken by parliament
We call on the British and other foreign governments to enforce a ban on the sale of arms and so-called ‘crowd control’ equipment such as tear gas to Egypt.
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, PCS Union – Sue Bond, President, PCS Union – Zita Holbourne, PCS NEC – Bob Crow – General Secretary, RMT Union – John McDonnell, MP – Mark Campbell, UCU NEC – Claire Jerran, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Raussa Williams-Hermiston, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Emma Hall, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Rick Newby, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Peter Crossdale, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Ian Honey, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Sue Chadwick, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Mark Boothroyd, student nurse, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Stephanie Gillespie, student nurse, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Ian Bradley, UNITE, Electrician – Cliff Snaith, UCU, London Metropolitan University – Ian Notman, PCS – Geoff Taylor, UNITE – Lynne Hubbard, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – George Gouten, Branch Secretary, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – John Cowie, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Rowan Taylor, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Ray Thompson, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Carolyn Green, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Karen Ashworth, UNITE, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital – Lorna Wilkinson, PCS – Dan Ingrest, PCS Rep – Kevin Smith, PCS Asst Gr Sec – Val Harris, PCS rep – Glen Burman, PCS rep – Luke Whitelaw, PCS rep – Les Bestwick, PCS – Ken Gall, Trade Unions President, House of Commons – Steve Moorcroft, PCS DEFRA – Keith Crane, PCS DEFRA, Group Asst Sec – Martin Cleary, PCS – Guy Ellis, PCS – Paul McGoy, PCS, Group President, Home Office – Aidan McDonnell, PCS Organiser – Jon Bigger, PCS Branch Secretary – Chris Mullins, PCS BEC member – Raj Shah, PCS Branch Chairman, Inland Revenue – David Newton, PCS member – Duncan Gallow, PCS Branch Chair – Gary Sturgeon, PCS BEC member – Derek Woolley, PCS member – Andrew Dibble, PCS Branch Secretary – Matt O’Dwyer, PCS branch chair – Steve Norton, PCS rep – Niaz Faiz, PCS Equality Officer.