The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information ANHRI
Program of freedom of expression of workers and social movement
January has witnessed no major protests, but in general we can say that the number of participants in the protests in most of the labor and professional protests was estimated by hundreds, or dozens, while individualism dominated the social mobility; at best the number of participants in the protests did not reach thousands, except in the case of solidarity with the Bar Association during the hearing to appeal the sentence of imprisonment for failure to implement a judicial ruling, and the failure to implement the provisions of registration of graduates of open education on the registration schedule of the union.
In terms of the authorities’ handling of the protests, labor protests were mostly dominated by negotiations, while social protests were mostly dominated by repression and intimidation, or even being ended automatically.
The program monitored 47 protests during the month of January, including 11 labor and professional protests, and 36 social, summarized as follows:
- Labor and Professional Protests:
The program has monitored 11 labor and professional protests, distributed as follows:
- Protests: 4 cases
- Strike to work: 2 cases
- Hunger strikes: 2 cases
- Sit in: 2 cases
- Threatening to protest: 1 case.
The details of such protests go as follows:
Protests came at the top of the methods of labor and professional protests during 2019 with cases against administrative decisions or to demand financial dues, as follows:
- A number of employees of Hassan Allam Company organized a two-day protest on January 2nd-3rd protesting against deducting 20% of the salary for around 400 workers in 5 working locations in Al-Shorouq Housing.
- More than 200 workers in Madrid Ceramics in Bayad AlArab industrial area, east Beni-Suef, organized a protest in front of the government directorate and the building of manpower directorate on Tuesday, January 15th, protesting against closing the factory by its owner. A group of workers in the factory demanded the presence of the owner himself where the manpower directorate called him and asked him to come over to work on finding solutions.
- The workers of Madrid Ceramics, east of the Nile, in Beni Suef, held their protest for the second time on January 21st in front of the Manpower Directorate building, protesting the closure of the factory for more than a month, and the dismissal of all employees with neither obvious reasons nor receiving their dues since December 16th. The Directorate of Manpower intervened, where he asked representatives of the company to give them time to present the matter to the Board of Directors of the company.
- Workers at the Union of Beheira Workers organized a protest rally on January 28th at the headquarters of the General Union of Egyptian Workers’ Syndicates in Cairo in protest against the non-payment of salaries and incentives for four consecutive months beginning last October and the non-disbursement of grants for the years 2017 and 2018 which reach 20 months.
- Strike to work:
Striking to work came in second in terms of methods of labor and professional protesting with 2 cases, as follows;
- Dozens of workers in “factory 1, factory 2, factory 3, management, garment and maintenance departments” in the Textile and Tincture Company, in Kafr El Dawar, entered an open-ended strike and sit-in, on January 1st and raided the factory land and entrances inside the primacies of the spinning company, in response to the delayed payment of salaries in December, as well as not receiving the annual allowance, which was estimated by two months, to be disbursed by the end of the year.
- The drivers at the Water and Sanitation Company in Shebin El-Kom entered a strike to work on January 30th, to demand settlement of their employment situation, increasing the incentive reward, revenue incentive. And traffic violations allowance. The governor of Monufia intervened, met with employees of the company, and managed to end the drivers’ strike after stressing that all their demands would be considered according to the rules and regulations.
- Hunger strikes:
With 2 cases also, hunger strike came in second place among methods of protesting for labor and professional protests during January 209, as follows;
- Hatem Mohamed Mohamed, who is a doctor in Menia Nasr Central Hospital in Daqahalia, entered a hunger strike, on January 17th inside the hospital, to protest against the decision to transfer him. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health intervened and decided that Dr. Hatem Mohamed would be hired as the director of the reception of the central Dekernes Hospital, ending the strike, and the doctor accepted his new post.
- 4 researchers in the legal department of the Directorate of Health in Monufia entered a hunger strike inside their offices, on January 21st against the harm caused to them by the Director of Legal Affairs. The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health intervened and held a meeting with the researchers, promising to consider their problem and solve it.
- Sit in:
Like the previous two methods, there were 2 cases of sit-ins this month, as follows;
- On January 1st, a number of employees of Heliopolis Housing and Construction Company (“General Business Sector”) of the National Company for Construction and Development (NCCI) held a sit-in demanding their appointment at the company after they had been working there more than five years. The workers also called for improving their financial condition, paying their bonuses and profits, and paying their dues. The labor force succeeded in breaking the sit-in on January 3rd after the chairman of the company’s board of directors requested chance of time to present their demands to the chairman of the holding company.
- Around 630 workers at Al-Tawfiq Company for Plastic Industry in Sharqia held a sit-in demanding higher wages. The Ministry of Manpower announced on January 9th, its success in breaking the sit-in, after the company had granted all workers a periodic bonus of 7% of the comprehensive wage, salary increases, in addition to the periodic bonus. The sit-in was stopped and work was resumed orderly in the company.
- Threatening to protest:
With 1 case, threats to protest came third in terms of methods of labor and professional protest during January 2019, as follows;
- The League of Disabled Party Newspapers, threatened on January 28th, to organize a protest on the ladder of the Journalists Syndicate, followed by a sit-in in the office of the head of the syndicate on the afternoon of February 3rd , against the background of not operating the “alkhabar” website which is under the umbrella of the Syndicate, the non-payment of salaries of party journalists, and the non conclusion their insurance contracts.
- Social Protests:
The program monitored 36 social protests during January 2019, detailed;
- Suicide and attempted suicide: 12 cases
- Protests: 10 cases
- Gathering: 7 cases
- Demonstrations: 3 cases
- Hunger strike, threats to protest, petition or complaint, road blocking: 1 case each.
- Suicide and attempted suicide:
12 cases occurred during January 2019, as follows:
- A 26-year-old housewife threw herself off the balcony of her 4th-floor apartment on January 3rd, and a dead body was found in Bulaq al-Dakrour district of Giza after she and her husband had disputes over their house expenses.
- Mohammed G.H., 39, a resident of Shabba village in Rahmania, Beheira, who used to work as a health inspector at Salloum Customs, killed himself on January 6th by throwing himself off the top of the Desouq Bridge overlooking the Nile, after passing through bad psychological condition due to financial difficulties. Record No. 91 of 2019 was issued by the Director of Bandar Desouq Police Department.
- El-Said A.A., 23 years old, a hunter, committed suicide by hanging himself in his bedroom in Mataria, Daqahalia, on January 6th. Investigations revealed that he had been exhausted and unable to meet the requirements of his home, where he and his wife use to fight all the time over the expenses of the house then he left her, entered his room and hanged himself.
- Ramadan E. A., 23, from al-Aqabin district in Mataria, Daqahalia, killed himself by hanging on January 6th after his father had refused to grant him a financial sum.
- On January 9th, Ahmed M. E., a worker, set fire to himself in protest against a security campaign carried out jointly with the local unit of Qena, to remove his one-story house and annex him to the desert area in the village of Tramsa in Qena. He sustained minor burns in the hands and abdomen and was taken to Qena General Hospital for treatment.
- K., a 50-year-old resident of al-Mahrras village in Malawi, south of Minia, committed suicide by throwing himself in the Ibrahimia Canal. The body was found floating on January 11th, a week after his absence from the house, and an absence report had been issued.
- M., 32-year-old unemployed, committed suicide after he had hanged himself in his apartment in Al-Salam Police Department by hanging a rope in the ceiling fan of his room. He tied the rope around his neck until death for passing through financial distress and inability to meet the constant demands of the house.
- A. Qassas, 38, married with two children, hanged himself to death on January 17th, in his house in Abu Arsa village Belqas, Daqahalia. When asked, his relatives confirmed that he was a decent young man but that he had been in a bad psychological condition because of financial distress.
- H. S. Radwan, 28, a worker in Masala district of Fayoum-I police department, committed suicide on January 22nd after taking poisonous pills, after he had divorced his wife because of his financial difficulties and his failure to find work to meet the needs of his family.
- El-Said M. A., 32-year-old farmer, a resident of Fayoum, tried to get rid of his life on January 24th by setting fire to his body after pouring petrol on him because of financial difficulties, when both his wife and his brother had refused to grant him money. He was transferred to the central hospital of Etsa.
- Arafa M. A., a 53-year-old merchant, and resident of Sahel police station in Cairo attempted suicide on January 30th by throwing himself from the top of the May 15th bridge in Agouza police station, for financial hardship and family circumstances.
- Mahmoud M., 30 years old, a farmer at Manzala center in Daqahalia, committed suicide on January 31st, by taking preservative pills after passing through a poor mental condition due to his financial condition. He died on his arrival at Manzala Hospital.
With 10 cases, vigils came second in terms of methods of social protesting in January 2019, as follows;
- Residents of the Triangle area south of Port Said organized a protest on Wednesday, January 2nd to announce their fear of being harmed as a result of the ongoing work to clean Manzala Lake, while the police forces were heavily present in the area.
- The new building owners’ association in Zefta in Gharbia organized a protest on January 13th after issuing decisions to remove the violating roles, demanding the governor to reverse the demolition of the infringing roles and help them to legalize their situation instead of demolishing.
- Dozens of owners of residential units and villas in Madinaty project of the Talaat Mustafa Group Holding in Cairo held a protest in front of the headquarters of the city council on January 13th, in protest against the violation of the Consumer Protection Law and the illegal imposition of fees by the Arab Development Company (the company owning all the Talaat Mustafa Group projects) for those who wish to sell or assign their units in violation of the law.
- A number of families of the victims of the Yassin al-Zuhairi boat which had sunk in the Gulf of Suez held a silent stand in front of the Damietta governorate on January 17th to demand that officials quickly recover the drowned boat and recover the bodies of 14 fishermen more than 50 days after the ship had sunk.
- A group of residents of the houses of the cemetery in the city of Faraskur in Damietta held a protest before the Office of the province on January 18th, to object to the decision of the Office on the housing of only 16 families out of 40 families affected. The security forces intervened to expel the protesters outside the office building.
- On January 21st, dozens of villagers from the Kanaes village of Kafr El Dawar organized a protest in front of the General Directorate of Beheira due to the interruption of drinking water from the village several months ago. The secretary general of the governorate met the people and promised to solve the problem as soon as possible.
- Dozens of residents of the Nazelet al-Semman district of Giza staged a protest against the demolition of their homes on January 21st. Security forces intervened forcibly to stop the protest using tear gas and batons to disperse protesters, causing a number of injuries and fractures, and more than 20 citizens were arrested on charges of gathering and resisting the authorities. On January 27th, the appeals judge of the Southern Giza Court decided to accept the appeal of 18 of the parents and ordered their release pending investigation.
- On January 22nd, dozens of people from the village of Riyad Pasha, in Beni Suef, organized a protest to demand the alteration of the path of one of the exits of Adly Mansur Bridge, in order to close the exit at the village entrance and the road leading to their agricultural land.
- A number of affected citizens gathered in front of the city council of Manzala, Daqahalia on January 24th, in protest against the rise in water level at the Amera water drainage, and its access to areas of land planted with alfalfa and wheat. The local authorities responded by working on the maintenance of the drainage of Amera deserts in Ezbet Abu Al-Akhdar in Manzala Center.
- On January 27th, dozens of lawyers from Desouq, Kafr el-Sheikh organized a silent protest march at the entrance to the Desouq Court, protesting the arrest of three lawyers from their colleagues for bribery.
Gathering came third with 7 cases this month as follows;
- A number of residents of Abu Hussein road in Zagazig, Sharqia, gathered during renovation work for the road on January 1st to object to transferring the electricity generator to be close to the mall. Police forces intervened and arrested five of the demonstrators and transferred them to the prosecution.
- A group of extremists in Manshiat Zaafarana village which is 5KM Southeast of Fikria, Menia, demonstrated on January 7th hours after the Christmas prayers in Mary Gergis church. Police dispersed them while two priests and some Christian citizens were kept inside the church.
- A group of lawyers demonstrated in Kafr Saad prosecution on January 8th demanding the release of the body of lawyer Eetemad Shawqi and examination by forensic medicine for autopsy after some of her family had alleged her husband was behind her death because of disputes between them, and the prosecution approved the demand.
- Around 30 of the victims of Reda A. E. S., an agricultural engineer in Mahalla Menuf center in Gharbia, gathered in front of Tanta courts on January 8th while the prosecution was interrogating him being accused of stealing about 400 million pounds. Security forces interfered to secure the courts in fear of the people attacking the accused.
- More than 1000 extremists in Manshiat Zaafarana village which is 5KM Southeast of Fikria, Menia, gathered on Friday, January 11th against the Mary Gerges church and chanting offensive slogans demanding to close the small place owned by Menia and Abu Qurqas Archbishopric for holding prayers.
- Dozens of owners and drivers of taxis gathered on Saturday night January 12th in front of the office of governor of Gharbia in Mahalla directorate to demand unifying colors and roads and objecting on ignoring their demands.
- Hundreds of cotton farmers in Daqahalia gathered on January 12th in front of the general surveillance of associations in Belqas central village, to demand the payment of the values of the Cotton harvest that had been being delivered to the association from the farmers in 43 villages in Hafeer Shehab district since September 208.
3 cases of demonstration took place in January for social reasons, as follows;
- Thousand of lawyers demonstrated on January 15th in front of misdemeanors appeals court of Khalifa and Mokattam during the trial to consider the appeal of the sentence no. 16410 in 2018 Mokattam misdemeanors with imprisonment of the head of the syndicate for two years and an L.E. 20,000 fine for failure to execute a court ruling and refusing to execute the rulings regarding enlisting the graduates of the open education in the syndicate registry.
- Dozens of owners of apartments in buildings constructed by Qlta company, for which a demolition decision was issued, demonstrated on January 16th in front of the general Assiut directorate to protest the decision and stress that the owners had paid the fines that the previous governor had issued and that all facilities had been connected to the buildings especially that the demolition decisions were still on hold in the judiciary and a court ruling had not yet been issued.
- Dozens of residents Souq Al-Sabt district in Abu Khalifa demonstrated on January 17th in front of the general Ismailia directorate to protest the demolition decisions for their homes, threatening to hold a sit-in in case the issued were not retracted.
- Hunger strike:
1 case of hunger strike occurred in January for social protesting reasons, as;
- Political activists (Islam Khalil, Galal Beheiry, Shadi Ghazali Harb, Ahmad Sabri Abu Alam, Abdel Fattah Banna) who are detained for their political opinions, entered hunger strike from Jan. 25th– Feb. 11th to protest their arbitrary detention.
- Threats to protest:
1 case of threatening to protest occurred in January for social protesting reasons, as;
- A number of community leaders in Ismaili club fans threatened on January 20th to organize a protest to demand the expulsion of the current board of directors in the club after the last game lost for the club in the match against Tunisian team AlAfriqi in the groups round of the African League championship.
- Petition or complaint:
1 case occurred in January for social protesting reasons, as;
- Khaled Hareeb, from Ismailia announced on January 4th gathering signatures for a group complaint to stop the demolition of Ismailia governor rest house which has a vintage nature and should be kept as it was more than 150 years old, and considered part of the Delecebs Villa Vintage district, as well as building a 5 meters gate around it which would deprive the city of a great part of its historical heritage.
- Road blocking:
1 case of road blocking occurred in January for social protesting reasons, as;
- Dozens of residents of Koum Daba village in Bagur, Monufia blocked the “Shebin AlKoum-Ashmun” road on January 2nd because of the disappearance of Gh.R.E., 8 years old student in Bi Arab Secondary Industrial School in Bagur and the girl’s family demanded to speed the process of finding the girl.
- Geographical Distribution of Labor and Professional Protests:
Cairo came first in terms of labor and professional protests for January 2019 with 4 ones, then both Monufia and Beni Suef came second with 2 each, then finally we have Beheira, Daqahalia, and Sharqia with 1 each.
- Geographical Distribution of Social Protests:
Social protests during January 2019 took place over 7 governorates, divided into five groups based on the number of such protests as follows;
- Daqahalia topping social protests with 6 protests
- Cairo: 5 protests
- Gharbia, Menia, and Damietta: 3 each
- Ismailia, Beheira, Giza, and Fayoum: 2 each
- Assiut, Alexandria, Sharqia, Monufia, Beni Suef, Port Said, Qena and Kafr AlShaikh: each
- Sectorial Distribution of Labor and Professional Protests:
- Construction and Building Materials topped the labor protests with 3 protests this month.
- The health sector was represented by 2 protests
- Sectors of (Spinning and Weaving, Print and Publishing, Chemical Industries, Water and sanitation, electricity, Housing, Employees, Media and Journalism) with 1 each
- Sectorial Distribution of Social Protests:
- Localities and services came first in social protests with 14 protests against the poor services the government provided for the citizens.
- Suicide 11 protests
- Security: 5 protests
- Lawyers: 2 protests
- Sectors of (Sports, Agriculture, Irrigation and Hunting, Justice, and Construction): 1 each
Thus, from the previous presentation, it is clear that:
“Construction and Building Materials” topped the list of labor and professional sectors where workers protested during January, while the “Localities and Services” sector topped the list of social sectors against which protests took place.
Suicide and attempted suicides were also reported to have increased to 12 cases during the month, 2 cases more than the previous months, which is a marked increase compared with January of the previous year, in which only 2 cases occurred.
Suicide cases have also increased by jumping in front of the subway in an unprecedented manner, which requires serious study by psychologists and sociologists to explain this growing phenomenon.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
Program of freedom of expression of workers and social movements