“Perseverance” despite the repression, imprisonment, prosecutions and harsh sentences against protesters, this is the impression of anyone who follows the labor and professional and social movement during 2018 will get.
As soon as a protest is dispersed, another appears, across all cities at varying degrees of protest. We can distinguish in 2018, on one hand the attempts of the authorities to eliminate independent trade unions, seize the awareness of workers and professionals. But on the other hand, those groups have strongly defended their right to freedom of assembly and their right to express their aspirations and dreams.
Note that this report has monitored various kinds of protests, between Jan. 1st and Dec. 15th, 2018, based on a number of sources, including; Field monitoring by the Freedom of Expression for Workers and Social Movements program, labor cases handled by ANHRI, and several printed newspapers and news websites such as Al Watan, Al Masry Al Youm, Al Wafd, Masrawy, Al Bawaba News, Al Fajr, and others.
This year witnessed a battle to reconcile trade unions, trying to control the right of workers to organize, through the executive bylaws of the labor law, in addition to a number of conditions and requirements to obstruct the reconciliation proceedings, where the staff of the Ministry of Manpower had many reasons for the refusal to receive reconciliation documents, in addition to the continued intimidation and discouragement of independent trade unionists and moving them away from their homes and areas of impact.
Labor elections were held in May, after a 12-year hiatus, and witnessed the exclusion of thousands of unionists according to police orders against the background of their union activity.
The results were announced in June, with the same old faces that are not the most appropriate for representing the working class;
Gibali Al Maraghi, President of the Union (Pro-government), won by acclamation,
Mohammed Wahhab Allah continued as Secretary General of the Union,
Adel Abdul Fadil was appointed as Treasurer,
In general, the General Union returned to its old form, with 68% of the heads of public trade unions by acclamation, and 60% of the General Trade Union Councils came by acclamation, while the representation of women was 0% in the presidency of the general unions.
This year was characterized by the arrest of a number of trade unionists and labor leaders, such as the arrest of 3 of the most prominent teachers known for their defense of teachers’ rights, while they were filing a complaint to the Public Prosecutor, against the Minister of Education, regarding the money spent on the “new education system” plan. Also, trade union activists in the nursing sector, Wagddi al-Sayed Ali, and Sayeda Sayed Fayed were among those who got arrested.
This year witnessed three important major events in the Egyptian protest movement:
The first event was the sit-in of about 5,000 workers in six factories belonging to “Unionaire”, in solidarity with dozens of workers fired from the company.
The second event was the vigil of the employees of the Egyptian contracting
“Mokhtar Ibrahim” company which was held to protest against the non-payment of their due salaries, which included several cities across Egypt at the same time, and continued for two days.
The workers succeeded in dismissing the chairman of the company’s board and achieving some of their demands.
The third event which is equally important, was the hunger strike by lawyers Hammad al-Ghannam and Ashraf Said, in the lawyer’s room of Al-Delengat, in protest against the intransigence of the jud
ges of the Court in the application of VAT retroactively.
The protest also received wide support from the bar association south of Giza, as well as the bar association of south Beheira, where the two unions decided to suspend work in front of the first district department of the Court of Delengat, and continued to do so for more than a week, until the meeting of the Assembly of the Bar Association of south Beheira, with the President of the Judges Club, and then counselors moved to the bar.
588 protests were monitored by the Freedom of Expression for Workers and Social Movements Program during 2018.
The protests are divided into (200) labor and professional protests, and (388) social protests.
As will be presented in details in the coming chapters, there were many reasons for the protests, different methods, and distribution nation-wide, but in general, the protests were divided into 442 group protests, and 146 individual ones.
As the graph shows, although the number of protests varied from month to month, the number of protests was around 60 in February, May, September, October, November, and December.
The average number of protests per month was (52) protests and the lowest protests occurred in (January, June, August).
By comparing labor and professional protests on one hand, and social protests on the other, we clearly see that the number of social protests was higher throughout the year, due to the nature of so
cial protests that do not need to be arranged in advance, and most of them start spontaneously as we will see later, except for (January and June) where there was an increase in labor protests over social protests, the increase is due to the delay in bonuses and
annual increases in these two months, and the increase in prices that led to the weakening of purchasing power.
Labor & Professional Protests
The labor and professional movement has enjoyed a remarkable activity this year, even if its features are not yet clear. This year, as will be detailed later, witnessed several attempts to find a way out of the crises experienced by the movement, trying to achieve change by democratic means through seizing the right to create a legal personality for the trade union committees, and the attempts to establish independent trade unions that honestly represents the aspirations and concerns of workers and professionals. Moreover, there was coordination among several unions, social movements and civil society organizations, to monitor the reconciliation of independent trade unions in accordance with law No. 213 of 2017, and following-up the trade union elections, which were held in May.
As will be detailed later, during this year, labor protests have been characterized by the demands, the number of protesters, the length of the protests, and how much solidarity they gained.
The Freedom of Expression for Workers and Social Movements program monitored 200 labor and professional protests this year, with an increase of 35 compared to the previous year. Labor and professional protests this year, divided into 169 group protests and 31 individual ones.
These protests were distributed among government employees, employees of the private and public sector and civil society, where government officials have held about 81 protests, workers in the private sector held around 55 protests, while the public sector has had about 30 protests, and the employees of (associations, sports clubs, political parties, newspapers, and trade unions) held 31 protests. In addition to a single parliamentary protest and two threats to commit suicide.
- Methods of Labor and Professional Protests:
|Threats to Protest||3||7||3||6||4||1||2||2||2||1||1||1||33|
As for methods of Labor and professional protests, though they have varied, they mainly focused on; Strikes, vigils, demonstrations, hunger strikes, and sit-ins; where workers and professionals held about 62 protests.
Workers of the General Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions, organized an open sit-in from 10 am on Jan. 8th 2018, in protest against the delay of the Board of Directors of the Union in the disbursement of both their social allowances, that have been estimated at 10%, and the cost of living allowances, that had been previously approved by the Board of Directors of the Union at its meeting on Dec. 25th. The security of the Union called the police on Jan. 9th, to disperse the sit-in.
Workers of the General Union of Egyptian Trade Unions met on Wednesday, January 3rd, at the Union headquarters, and they suspended the sit-in, while the Union ignored their demands to pay their dues.
The Union then held an emergency meeting on January 15th, where its Vice President, Said Naqib, said that the Union did not have financial resources to pay bonuses, stressing that both the 10% increase and the cost of living allowances are optional and not compulsory, to be decided according to the financial capacities of each institution according to its resources.
The workers of the Arab Company for Medicines and Medicinal Plants MEPACO also entered a strike on January 31st, 2018. The strike lasted for 4 days in protest against low wages and ill-treatment of the administration. The strike ended after the intervention of the Ministry of Manpower, and the workers agreed to return to work on February 8th after being promised in an official letter from the ministry stating a series of negotiations in the ministry, and after the company’s management had vowed to stop all decisions taken against workers, and to resort to dialogue and negotiations.
On February 3rd workers of “Labote” Ceramics which belongs to “Princes” ceramics group in 10th of Ramadan city entered a strike at the company’s factory, to claim their arrears as well as the annual increase. The protesting workers announced a list of 10 demands to end their sit-in.
The administration rejected their demands, and on February 9th sent the workers letters to meet them on February 10th, without giving reasons.
On Friday, February 16th, security forces arrested six of the company’s workers, based on arrest orders by the Public Prosecution, on charges of “inciting their colleagues to strike”
The prosecution also decided to arrest 20 other workers, while one of the 6 defendants; “Mohammed A. H”; head of one of the company’s divisions, had several fractures in both his feet, spinal cord, and pelvis; after jumping from the 3rd floor, when authorities came to arrest him from his home in the village of Hefna, Bilbis. He was then taken to the al-Ahrar hospital.
The strike ended on February 21st and work was resumed without the release of the 6 detained workers or waiving the complaints against the other 20 workers with incitement to strike; although the administration had asked the workers to suspend the strike, and in return they would waive the complaints against their colleagues. However, the company did not meet its end of the deal.
Anger among workers at the headquarters of Bisco Misr in Amireya began on Thursday, April 19th, after the Board of Directors decided not to pay the workers their 2017 profit share, so workers entered a sit-in on Saturday, April 21st.
Security forces arrested 6 workers on Wednesday, April 25th and they are:
Raafat Madbouli – Ahmed Mohamed Hashim – Hani Saied Ali – Alaa Ali Youssef – Sumaya Abdullah – Mahmoud Abdel Baqi.
They were arrested pending complaint No. 1111 of 2018 administrative, on charges of striking and incitement, until Mataria prosecutor’s office decided to release the 6 workers on Thursday evening, April 26th, without any guarantees.
And finally, in the morning of Thursday, August 9th, about 800 workers of the Nidal Craft factory for ready-made clothes in the free zone in Shebin Al-Koum, entered a strike to demand better financial conditions.
- Reasons for Labor and Professional Protests:
|dismissal from work||1||2||1||2||2||2||1||2||1||14|
|end of service bonus||1||1||1||3|
If about 39% of the labor and professional protests were due to reasons uncommon in the past such as appointment, salary increases, meals, incentives, bonuses, end of service benefits, days of rest, treatment, insurance and occupational safety, or objection to late payment of salaries, dismissal from work, number of working hours, or to declare solidarity with others, still this year’s protests have added other reasons, like transfers, termination of assignment, changes of job title, parents’ attacks on teachers, adjustments to job status after obtaining higher qualifications, exclusions from trade union elections’ lists, and others, all of which came in the first rank in terms of reasons to protest.
Protesting against late payment of salaries came 2nd among the causes of the protests. For example, temps – temporarily hired employees – organized on Monday morning, February 12th, a vigil at the ferry facility in Port Foad, against delayed salaries of the month.
Some of the facility’s officials and the police attended the negotiations with the temps to end the strike and promised to pay their salaries within 48 hours.
About 600 graduates of the Faculty of Nursing at Zagazig University, organized a vigil on Nov. 4th in front of the Office of the Dean of the College, in protest against the decision to spend their house-office service year in the university hospitals in the city of Zagazig far from their places of residence, in addition to not receiving the incentives allocated to them for 2 months.
- Sectorial Distribution of Labor and Professional Protests during 2018
The “transport and communications” came in 1st place among the sectors protesting this year with 28 protests, with the highest concentration in June and July, due to the protests in the microbuses stations after increase in prices of petroleum products, which had been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on June 16th at 9:00 AM.
Such protests spread to 15 governorates; Cairo, Qalyubia, Alexandria, Daqahalia, Port Said, Qena, Beheira, Beni Suef, Sharqia, Kafr El-Sheikh, Menoufia, Luxor, Fayoum, Damietta and Gharbia.
For example, the drivers in the Mataana station in Esna, Luxor, organized a strike on July 9th, because of changing the tariff set by the directory, and the high cost of renewing the driver’s license. Security services intervened and used buses from Luxor traffic services, the city council of Esna and charities to transport passengers.
In Fayoum, dozens of taxi drivers organized on July 15th a strike in Tamia station, in order to demand an increase in the ride tariff. Security forces arrested 7 drivers and car owners on July 17th and a complaint was filed against them and they were referred to the prosecution, which decided to detain them pending investigation. A decision was also made to remove their cars from the station department and to withdraw or revoke their licenses; whether driving or ownership.
Then “Education and Scientific Research” sector came in 2nd place in the labor and professional sectors during this year, with 27 protests, including 19 in the government, 6 in the private sector, and two in trade unions.
An example of protests in the public education sector; Dozens of temporary workers at Fayoum University organized on January 17th a protest in front of the university administration building that lasted for 3 hours, as protesters demanded their appointment after they had been working for more than 5 years without receiving allowances or health insurance, announcing their intent to continue their peaceful vigils until their demands had been met.
Regarding private education, some teachers at Victoria College in Alexandria organized a protest on February 4th where the teachers of the primary section protested due to the delay in the disbursement of their financial dues. Meanwhile the American section, the teachers had protested against the non-release of contracts for the same year.
As for the role of unions regarding the education sector, Mohammed Zahran, Talent Management Officer at Mataria Educational Administration, and founder of the Teachers Independence Movement, called on January 3rd for a silent protest for teachers within the headquarters of the unions, trade union committees and union clubs, nation-wide to be held on January 19th calling for some demands.
The union committee at Alexandria University hospitals also filed a lawsuit on August 18th against the later to consider the eligibility of workers in the payment of the examination bonus on the basis of monthly salary and not on the basic salary.
Also, in 2nd place, we can find the “health sector” with 27 protests, out of which 22 were in the government, and 4 protests were by the Doctors Syndicate, and one protest was in the private sector.
For example, 250 service workers, security supervisors and Ismailia General Hospital employees, held a vigil on April 4th in front of the General Secretariat building, after the decision of the services company responsible for the security and hygiene work in the hospital, the directorate, the doctors’ residence, the hospital emergency, and the Fayed hospital, to terminate their contracts, even though they had been working for the company for two years.
The Doctors Syndicate also contributed four protests this year, including the decision of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate Council, on April 22nd to start a sit-in at the General Union headquarters, Doctors’ Syndicate in Sharqia and all the branch unions on Monday April 23rd in solidarity with doctor Mohammed Hassan, who had been accused of disrupting the work of the prosecution.
Then, came the sectors of; Media, Press, Printing and Publishing, Sports, Textile, Employees, Chemical Industries, Construction and Building Materials, Utilities and Services, Lawyers, Water, Sewage and Electricity, Security, and Trade.
While sectors such as housing, communications, military production, post, air transport, quarries, and mining were not seen in any labor mobilization this year.
- Geographic Distribution of Labor and Professional Protests:
Cairo was at the center of labor and professional protests this year with 53 protests, with a big difference of up to 36 protests between it and the following city.
Labor and professional protests in Cairo were characterized by their collective nature, as they have come from government officials, both the public and private sectors, including at least 15 sectors including; Media, Press, Printing, Publishing, Employees, Health, Construction and Building Materials, Transportation, Lawyers, Chemical Industries, Insurance, Banking, etc., respectively.
Among the most important protests in Cairo;
A protest organized by the workers of the Nile General Company for Construction and Pavement on May 14th in front of the company’s headquarters, condemning the conditions they had reached because of the accumulation of debt on them, after the delayed payment of their financial dues for nearly 18 months.
A protest in the radio engineering sector in front of the Office of the President of the National Information Commission on June 25th to demand the adoption of functional adjustments after the head of the economic sector had approved laying off a number of aid workers and others in Maspero.
In another protest, dozens of journalists from Al-Alam Al-Youm newspaper entered an open sit-in inside the headquarters of the Journalists Syndicate on October 20th after the announcement of the liquidation of the company “Happy News” which was the owner of the newspaper, and that was owned by the media figure Emad Eldin Adib.
Coming in second in geographical distribution of labor and professional protests is Gharbia with 17 protests, among them:
The entry of the workers of Tanta Flax Company, in a strike on January 12th that continued for 5 days in order to demand appointment and payment of incentives and late profits.
The workers returned to their work only after meeting workers’ representatives with the company’s general commissioner and reaching an agreement between both parties to give the management of the company time to discuss their demands and present them to the holding company.
A case of threatening to commit suicide on December 11th when Mohammed Imam ascended to the top floor of the company, as he has been working in the financial and industrial company in Kafr El-Zayat, threatening to throw himself off, because of his transfer to the branch of Assiut, after posting a comment on Facebook. He was persuaded to abandon the idea of committing suicide.
As can be seen from the chart; Monufia came in third place with 12 protests, both Alexandria and Giza tied in fourth with 11 eleven labor protests each, followed by the Red Sea, Port Said, North Sinai, Aswan, Assiut, Kafr El-Sheikh, Suez; came respectively.
At the bottom of the list were; New Valley, South Sinai, Sohag, Marsa Matrouh; with 1labor and professional protest each.
It is worth mentioning that all of Egypt’s governorates participated in varying percentages in labor and professional protests this year, even if it was just 1 protest, such as the case in New Valley, South Sinai, Sohag, and Marsa Matrouh.
There were also 3 labor and professional protests this year characterized by challenging the limits of borders crossing several governorates, including the a number of veterinarians working on temporary contracts in several governorates, who on February 17th threatened to hold a protest followed by a partial strike, until the fulfillment of their demands for not paying their salaries for several months, and the repetition of the phenomenon of delayed salaries without knowing the cause, although their financial allocations come out of private funds.
The second protest was by the union of workers working by special funds nationwide, who on Tuesday, June 19th threatened to take escalating measures up to the point of a strike in all government ministries, to protest the delay of their salaries for several months, for lack of sufficient funds to provide them with the funds on which they were established.
The third and most important event was the vigils organized by employees of Mokhtar Ibrahim Company “an Egyptian Contracting Company” in front of the headquarters of the company in several governorates, on Tuesday, October 16th in protest against the non-payment of salaries for the months of August and September, which caused the interruption of work in projects implemented by the company, and the workers’ protests continued until the Holding Company for Construction and Development intervened on October 18th paying part of the salaries, and dismissing the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Social protests this year where evidently collective protests, as out of the 388 social protests, 273 were collective while 115 were individual.
Although social protests this year have been characterized by their locality, however, a protest by a number of lawyers was held across several governorates on the decision of the Minister of Finance No. 381 of 2018, on the identification of categories obtained from lawyers under the income tax calculation, established by Law No. 91 of 2005, after the Bar Association had announced its rejection describing the increases as “unjustified”.
Also, social protests this year were somehow sectarian, for example; in Minya, a protest was held by Islamic extremists to protest against the construction of churches, and another was by the families of victims of terrorist attacks against Christians.
This is why we are warning that Minya, in particular, is going through a state of sectarian congestion that requires the authorities to intervene wisely and objectively in order to work to remove this congestion, through the rule of law and raising the social and cultural level in the area.
Coptic Christians in the village of Manbal in Matay center were subjected to attacks, on the evening of July 9th by a crowd of militants who threw bricks at the houses of Christians amid the “Takbir” (Allahu Akbar!) chants, against the backdrop of allegations that a Christian individual from the village shared a link to an article deemed offensive to religions.
A number of Abu Sultan village residents in Minya gathered on August 25th in protest against the presence of surveillance cameras on a building that was used to hold Christian prayer. Security services moved to the village, the crowd was dispersed and dismissed, the situation was fully controlled, and 3 individuals were arrested.
This year also witnessed several protests against the police, accusing it of killing innocent people and fabricating cases, including the January 15th protest in front of Mokattam police station in Cairo against the killing of Mohamed Abdel Hakim, known as “Afrotto”, and the protest on April 9th – 10th in front of Montazah-III police station in Alexandria, to protest the hanging of Shaaban Hassan Gomaa inside a police car while in detention.
Also another example of protests against the police is the protest of the residents of Awamia in Luxor on December 15th at dawn to protest against running over a young man called “Mohamed Hamdi” by a deportation vehicle that belongs to the central security forces near the governor’s rest house. The security forces intervened with tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
- Methods of Social Protests:
|Refusal to Receive Service||1||1|
|Threats to Protest||2||4||4||4||4||3||4||1||2||3||3||34|
A vigil is a protest with a previous invitation and designated location. A vigil differs from the gathering as the latter, as we shall see, is unorganized and spontaneous as a reaction to an incident.
Social mobilization in terms of vigils was mainly adopted this year, with 103 cases, making 26.5% of the total number of protests, including 7 cases of protest where the number of participants was at least in hundreds:
- 300 students of the schools of excellence in Tanta, organized a protest on Tuesday, February 13th against the decision of the Ministry of Higher Education regarding the eligibility system, which they described as “unjust” according to them.
- Green Valley Workers’ Union and hundreds of the Green Valley landowners organized a protest in front of the Ministry of Housing in the Oasis Road, on February 26th after the emergence of new documents proving their rights to own lands similar to the neighboring lands, which were deducted from the land of the company in favor of an association.
- A number of Green Valley landowners organized a protest on Monday, May 28th in front of the Ministry of Housing, in 6th October City, in order to legalize the conditions of their lands, which they had obtained under the contract of allocation of the Green Valley Company.
- Hundreds of residents of Kanayes village, in Kafr El Dawar, Beheira organized a protest on June 1st in front of the main road in the village, because of the cutting of drinking water for more than two months, without any solutions by the company or the intervention of an official.
- Hundreds of residents of the village of Ezbet al-Boussa of Naga Hammadi Center, in North Qena, on September 7th organized a protest against the appointment of a new mayor for the village who had come against the will of the people.
- Hundreds of residents in Ras al-Hikma area east of Marsa organized a protest on September 15th against what they called the government’s decision to evacuate the land and displace indigenous people, demanding the reversal of the government decisions on expropriation.
- Hundreds of residents of the Emarati neighborhood south of Port Said, organized a protest, on October 24th in front of “Sinmar chemicals” factory, known among the residents of the region as the” factory of death” to demand the closure of the factory, claiming the emissions of gases from it are causing the suffocation of their children. Central security forces intervened, dispersed the protest and arrested 8 people, before the prosecution decided to release them ensuring their place of residence, and imposed security forces presence in the region.
Middle-class segments of society who are not workers/employees, have resorted to committing suicide, as one of the most dangerous means of expressing their anger and protest, with 101 cases, making 26% of the protest methods this year, while workers did not have to resort to that form of protest as we saw in the previous chapter, except in 2 cases in which only threatening to commit suicide was used to get their demands fulfilled.
Society started to be aware of the seriousness and frequency of suicide after a surveillance video had been taken at Mar Guirges (St. George) Metro Station in line-I on July 1st, of a twenty-year-old girl throwing herself in front of the subway and dying immediately.
That girl was not the only case of suicide by jumping in front of the subway, it took place approximately 5 times, the latest of which was the suicide of a woman in front of the subway in Dar Al-Salam station.
With suicides in Egypt in 2018 increasing, many pro-government newspapers tried to divert attention from the social dimension of the phenomenon to attribute it to weather and high temperature, genetic or psychiatric illness, or because of organic diseases such as “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”.
Although the term “gathering” is a term used by the police for every protest, we intend it to mean that a group of citizens spontaneously protesting. The Freedom of Expression for Workers and Social Movements program monitored 62 cases of gathering for social reasons not related to labor issues during the year and the number of participants in at least one of those protests reached thousands.
- Hundreds of armed individuals gathered in the village of Al-Tud, in Abu Tesht center in Qena, on March 21st protesting against the legalization of a church after leaked news of the arrival of a committee from the ministry of housing to inspect a building and papers presented under the title “Virgin Mary Church”.
- Thousands of residents of Nahariya village of Kafr El-Zayat district in Gharbia gathered on December 8th, around the house of those accused of killing a 65-year-old ElSaid Emara, as the protesters demanded the expulsion of the family of the accused from the village due to the large number of problems they had been causing. Security forces cordoned off the area.
- Threatening to Protest:
Threatening to protest came in 4th place as one of the methods in social mobilization, with 34 cases, out of which 30 were collective and 3 individual. Among the group threats to protest, was the case of the graduates of Abordis Industrial Secondary School for Petroleum Technology in South Sinai, where a number of school graduates on Sunday, July 15th threatened to enter a hunger strike with demands of appointment. The graduates had gathered in front of Abordis Central Hospital to meet the Governor of South Sinai during his visit to the hospital.
The incidents also included several social groups, including parents of students, protesting the poor condition of schools, overcrowding in schools, lawyers protesting the conditions of registration in the union and cases of assault on lawyers, and the decision of the Minister of Finance No. 381 of 2018 regarding the identification of categories of lawyers under Income tax calculation, and other social groups such as members of sports clubs, players, journalists, and others.
In a public session on April 16th, MP Ahmad Farouk announced a sit-in in the House of Representatives and a hunger strike because of the lack of sanitation in the Manshiat Al-Qanater in Qalioubia.
Demonstrations came in 5th place among protest methods during 2018, with 21 cases, perhaps the most important of which was the demonstration by the people of Mit Salsil in Daqahalia on Tuesday evening August 28th in front of the house of Mahmoud Nazmi – 33, who had been accused of killing his two children – in protest against the prosecution’s investigation into the case demanding reopening the investigations. Security forces confronted demonstrators by firing tear gas after the demonstrators attempted to break into the police station.
The importance of such an event was the fact that it was a gathering of a large number of people, that the case had captured the attention of public opinion for several days, in addition to the fact that the demonstration questioned the credibility of the Justice system in Egypt.
Also in 2018, demonstrations were held on May 11th – 12th by subway passengers to protest the subway ticket price hike.
In 2018, there were about 18 strikes, including 8 by microbus and taxi drivers, that even some of them involved more than 13 towns and village, where drivers from more than 13 villages and cities of Abu Tig, Sadafa and Assiut Center, entered a strike to work on Tuesday morning April 3rd where the cars stopped on the “Assiut – Sohag” agricultural road, in protest against the failure of the Roads and Bridges Authority in Assiut to implement the process of replacement and renewal of the road, which harmed their cars.
The reasons for the drivers’ protest were numerous; between the police assault on one of the drivers, or moving stations, or spot-check campaigns on random stations, or the existence of non-authorized microbuses, still, many of those strikes were mainly due to the increase in fuel prices.
5 strikes involved students and the educational process, while other 5 ones were held by the owners of bakeries in the city of Zineya north of Luxor, the owners of bazaars in Savoy market East of Luxor, lawyers in Sharqia, and the union committee of Zamalek club.
Protesting through sit-ins came 7th in terms of methods of protesting this year with 13 sit-ins, of which 11 were group and 1included hundreds of protesters, such as the case in which 150 students of the school of excellence in Sars Al-Lian in Monufia, entered a sit-in inside the school to demand the amendment of their quota ineligibility and the percentage of absenteeism and attendance.
Sit-ins reached also the House of Representatives, where member of the House of Representatives entered the constituency of “Metobas and Fowa” in Kafr El-Sheikh, Fathi al-Sharqawi entered an open sit-in inside the Pharaoh’s Hall of the House of Representatives, on Monday, February 26th in objection to the contamination of drinking water, the closure of 3 water stations in Kafr al-Sheikh, and the failure of officials to solve the problem.
In 2018, at least 12 petitions or complaints were filed out of which 10 were collective and 1 was an individual case. Of the collective cases, was the complaint filed by the Doctors Syndicate of Cairo, to the President of the Supreme Council of Information, on November 18th about an ad that was offensive to doctors as part of the “If we looked in the Mirror” campaign, with a letter sent by the union, that the advertisement be canceled. An Individual case was when a lawsuit was filed by lawyer Hussein Abdullah, against the Minister of Social Solidarity, after her decision to stop the “Dignity and Solidarity” pension, resulting in harming many families in the villages and centers of Esna, and the accumulation of debts.
In 2018, there were about 10 hunger strikes, including 3 collective hunger strikes, such as the hunger strike of 5 citizens in the village of Baghdadi in Al Bayadiya Center, at Luxor General Hospital, on Sunday, May 13th in protest against the removal decisions taken and carried out by the authorities of the City Council during a campaign to remove the encroachments on state property in the industrial area of Baghdadi. There were 6 individual hunger strikes, including the case of prisoner Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, who announced his entry into a hunger strike on May 23rd in his prison cell in Tura prison, in protest against the ban on his visits completely, depriving him of meeting with his lawyer for more than two years, and preventing him from parade. Also, the case of citizen “MMM” 73 years, a resident of Khurshid District Department of the Al-Montazah-III police station who entered a hunger strike on July 18th inside the building of the Health Insurance Authority in Smouha, in protest against the postponement of his appointment with the consultant for several months. Security services intervened to end the complaint and the patient was examined by the consultant and the necessary treatment was provided.
- Road Blocking:
Road blocking is an act of protest intended to attract the attention of passers-by to the cause of protest, which is ignored by the Authority. They are often spontaneous following the crowd. This year witnessed almost 8 cases, with the number of participants in each protest varied. Most of the causes were against road accidents and the disregard of the executive authorities for the demands of the population. One among such cases was the people of Mataria in Daqahalia on Tuesday, July 31st by preventing buses from traveling to investment factories in Port Said, on the background of the killing of 11 workers and injuring more than 18 others in a collision.
The people of the Abiouqa village in Desouq, Kafr El-Sheikh, gathered on August 21st and blocked the Desouq – Kafr El-Sheikh Road after the death of the child Mohammed Hani Naim, 6 years in a traffic accident. Security forces intervened violently, and 8 people were arrested while security forces cordoned off the village.
Road blocking for social reasons also included security reasons, such as those in which hundreds of Christians in the centers of Magaghah and Adwa north of Minia, blocked the Western desert road leading to the monastery of Anba Samuel on November 2nd to protest the Minia terrorist attack which targeted a microbus with a large number of Christians while returning from a visit to the monastery of St. Samuel, killing 14 people. Security forces opened the road on the same day after communicating with some of the protesters.
In 2018, there were about 5 marches, including 2 due to security faults, 2 in the sports sector, and one march of “Ultras Ahlawi” stated at the 20th Street in of Bulaq Dakrour on October 23rd after the match between Ahli club with Algerian Wefaq Al-Sateef, where a force from the Bulaq al-Dakrour police station intervened, arrested 10 Ultras members, kept on flags and signs in their possession as evidence, and 6 of them were presented to the prosecution who charged them with rioting. They were released on October 27th on an L.E. 5000 bail.
As for the security sector, the funeral of Christians Emad Kamal Sadiq, known as Emad elMqades, 49 years old, and his son David Emad, 21, in Minia on December 13th to an angry march in protest at their killing by the police secretary who was charged with guarding the Church of Nahdet Holiness Evangelical Wednesday evening December 12th, using his weapon.
- Refusing to receive treatment:
Denying to receive treatment is a new way to protest monitored by the Freedom of Expression for Workers and Social Movements Program for the first time during this year which was the case of dozens of patients with renal failure refusing their dialysis sessions in the Kidney Center at Edfu Hospital in Aswan, on Tuesday, July 10th to protest the malfunction of many machines, and the lack of medical supplies, putting their lives at risk. The patients then responded to the dialysis sessions after police complaints were filed.
Reasons for Social Protests:
|Poor living conditions||2||2||10||8||14||8||15||4||10||9||10||7||99|
The causes of the protests varied widely as it is difficult to categorize them in a specific number, including a protest due to the number of hours of attendance for students of the School of excellence for science and technology in Kafr El-Sheikh, or the Taxi drivers protest in west of Luxor because of the illegal operation of Cabot cars, Drinking water, installation of a mobile network tower of a telecommunications company above an apartment building, removing the carts of street vendors in the main streets and squares in the city of Ayat, the withdraw balances from household electricity meters, and disrupted pension payments, and others.
In the second place, the economic situation was 25.5% of the total reasons and then came (solidarity with others) by 3.4% in the third order of the reasons for protest. 1 example was the entry of microbus drivers, at the Kafr al-Zayat station in a strike on May 19th against the backdrop of a quarrel between a driver and a police officer, resulting in a total paralysis in the city.
In fourth place was “Increased school tuition fees”, by 1%, then came in a few numbers and negligible percentages the request for appointment in a post, then treatment as a demand for protests.
Finally, incentives and occupational safety came at the end of the list of demands for social mobility.
- Sectorial Distribution of Social Protests:
The surprising figure in 2018 was the significant increase in cases of suicide, and we saw it was very difficult to place suicides in a particular sector because the person who commits suicide or attempts to commit suicide is usually very desperate, protesting against society as a whole, and not against a sector in particular, so we have opted for a “no sector” rating, if it was not clear which sector the person who committed suicide was protesting against.
Despair came as the biggest motivation to commit suicide, placing suicide at the top of the forms of protest this year, which makes us sound the alarm and warn against the spread of despair in society, especially among the youth.
The education and scientific research sector came in second place among the protesting sectors this year due to due to the increasing overcrowding of students in classrooms, the failure to fulfill the promises of schools ready to receive students, the abolition of high-level subjects, and teaching some subjects in Arabic. The protests coincided with “The new strategy for the development of education” which was discussed by the Minister of Education.
The security sector came in third place and this year witnessed many security violations that led to killing citizens.
For example, the Council of the Suez Bar Association decided on Sunday February25th to organize a protest at the Saray Courts Complex on February 27th , in protest against the assault of a police officer, using his pistol to hurt a lawyer in Suez, injuring him in the head, and the detention of the lawyer without right.
In another protest against the security sector, the people of Manzala gathered on March 6th in front of the General Hospital to protest the death of a young man named Mohammad Khattab, 34, during a campaign to carry out the sentences.
The people cut the road and set fire to the hospital.
The latest police abuse was the killing of Emad Kamal Sadiq and his son David in Minya by a police deputy entrusted with guarding the Nahdat al-Qadasah evangelical church on Wednesday evening December 12th, using his weapon.
The Localities and Services sector ranked fourth.
As shown, Cairo topped the geographical distribution of social protests this year with about 85 protests.
Giza came in second place with (41) protests, Alexandria with (28), Daqahalia (27) protests, respectively, 21 governorates as shown in the annexed tables.
The protests were distributed across all governorates of the Republic except for the governorates of North Sinai and the New Valley, and we can attribute the exception of North Sinai as a zone of military operations, which prevents journalists from covering events there.
In Cairo, for example, a number of residents of various slums, who were housed by the government in Asmarat after the demolition of their homes, organized a march in the new neighborhood on April 23rd, in protest against the obligation to pay 300 pounds per month for rent of the new housing units.
Cairo also witnessed a number of subway users demonstrating on Saturday, May 12th, in the subway stations on the platforms of some of Helwan metro stations to protest the raising of the price of metro tickets, and the security services arrested a number of demonstrators and pressed charges.
Giza has witnessed, for example, dozens of people of the island of al-Warraq, organizing protest vigils on the three main camps on Saturday, September 29th, coinciding with the Court of Misdemeanors Warraq case of demonstrating 22 of those refusing to sell the island without permission, forcibly evicted from their lands and homes.