Demonstrations and strikes across Egypt
Ahram Online, Tuesday 8 Feb 2011
Workers, the unemployed and angry all took to the streets Tuesday demanding their rights and the removal of the country’s ruling regime
Thousands of Luxor’s unemployed and those affected by the impaired tourism sector gathered in front of the Labour Force Authority to register their names and seek compensation and financial aid as designated by the ministry of finance.
Head of the authority Abdraboh Hassan said that its employees have worked from eight in the morning receiving applications and registering them. He added that owners of small businesses, investors and businessmen have the right to apply for compensation as well, though not through the authority.
A large number sought unemployment benefit, many of whom graduates or diploma holders from the classes but were unable to find jobs. Others applicants do not hold regular jobs or have been afflicted by the suspension of tourism.
This comes at a time when most tourism companies and hotels started downsizing plans after suffering severe losses due to the complete absence of tourism in the city.
Labour protests escalated in Suez with textile workers joining in and demonstrating with 2000 others demanding their right to work. Ali Fuad, a worker at the station, said: “We are having a sit-in today to demand our rights, which are in the text of the workers’ law, our right to obtain the annual increase in salary which the management refuses to give us so we strike with all the laws that uphold the right of workers.”
Mohamed Abdel-Hakam factory, head of the factory syndicate, confirmed workers have continued their sit-in for a third day.
In the city of Suez itself, around 2000 youths demonstrated to demand the chance to work. Amid expectations of growing labour protests in Suez, officials from the local council have attempted to meet the protesters and end the crisis.
In Mahalla, more than 1500 workers of the Abu El-Subaa company in Mahalla demonstrated this morning, cutting the road, demanding their salaries and stating that it is not the first time. The workers have staged repeated sit-ins for two years as they demand their rights and mediation between the workers and the company’s owner, Ismail Abu El-Subaa.
More than 2000 workers from the Sigma pharmaceutical company in the city of Quesna have gone on strike demanding higher wages and benefits that have been suspended for years. The workers are also calling for the dismissal of managers who have ill-treated workers.
Around 5000 unemployed youths demonstrated this morning in front of Aswan governorate building, which they tried to storm. The protesters chanted their demand that the governor be dismissed.
In Kom Ombo, around 1000 protesters called for the president, Hosni Mubarak, as security remained absent.
Dozens of liver patients gathered in the governorate of Menoufeya at noon today over the lateness of their vaccinations. They were due to receive their treatment from the Hilal hospital three days ago. Dr. Murhaf El-Mougy, Menoufeya’s general director of medical insurance, stated that the governorate was late in receiving the vaccination from its manufacturer. He attributed the delay to the curfew imposed during the demonstrations in Egypt.
In Cairo, more than 1500 public authority for cleaning and beauty workers in demonstrated in front of the authority’s head quarters in Dokki. According to a statement by the head of the authority on Egyptian television, their demands include an increase in their monthly wages, to LE1200, and a daily lunch meal. The workers are also demanding for permanent contracts and the dismissal of the authority’s president.
And in Menya, thousands demanded the removal of the ruling regime in Egypt and Mubarak’s resignation. Amid heavy security, the demonstrators marched towards the governorate building.
In recent days, Menya has witnessed several demonstartions, most of them opposed to the regime. However, demonstrations in favour of Mubarak have been staged.Violence as a result of these protests has lead to 72 people being injured, demonstrators and security personnel, according to Dr Adel Abu Ziad, deputy of the ministry of health in Menya.
Donal Mac Fhearraigh