Police Assault, Arrest and Forcibly Disperse Protesting Workers Outside Parliament
Thousands of policemen were deployed in downtown Cairo on the evening of May 23; they had been ordered to attack, arrest and forcibly remove hundreds of protesting workers from the sidewalks outside Parliament and the Shoura Council - on which the workers had been sleeping-in for weeks, in some cases months.
These orders where issued following a parliamentary session addressing workers' grievances - which was attended by the minister of manpower and the president of the (state-controlled) Egyptian Trade Union Federation - which resulted in setbacks for the workers on the street outside parliament. The Minister of Manpower, Aisha Abdel Hadi, and the President of the ETUF, Hussein Megawer, both reneged on written agreements they had made with these workers regarding the liquidation of the Ahmonseto Textile Company, and their compensations/early retirement packages.
Hundreds of angry workers amassed outside the gates of parliament, while others attempted to block-off the roads outside parliament. Workers chanted slogans against the ruling party, describing its members as being swindlers, liars, and thieves.
The police moved in to beat-up the protesting workers with the clubs. Many workers were injured, and at least five were arrested (although some reports mention seven or eight arrests.) Hundreds of other workers were threatened with arrest if they did not leave the sidewalks where they had been sleeping-in.
The arrested workers were released later the same night; but all the workers' protests had been forcefully dispersed. Hundreds of workers from the Ahmonseto Textile Company, the Nubariya Company for Agricultural & Engineering Services, and the Egyptian Company for the Production of Telephone Units who had been peacefully protesting for their rights were violently silenced by the police.
The police/authorities may have silenced these workers for the time being, but workers cannot be silenced or contained endlessly.
Video above by Nina Hubinet
Amonsito protest quelled by security
May 24, 2010
Dozens of workers from the Amonsito textiles company, which closed down when its owner fled Egypt, marched yesterday from the People's Assembly to Banque Misr's headquarters to demand compensation after failure to reach a satisfactory agreement with the People's Assembly Manpower Committee.
Representatives for the workers withdrew from the meeting--headed by the President of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation Hussein Megawer and attended by Minister of Manpower and Migration Aisha Abdel Hady--after failing to reach a settlement to compensate for their lost jobs.
Outraged at the failure of the meeting, the protesting workers attempted to break into the People's Assembly, but were stopped by security forces. Clashes left a number of people injured.
Three workers were arrested, according to security sources. A lawyer from the Center for Economic and Social Rights said seven workers were arrested.
The workers marched down Qasr el-Aini, Sheikh Rehan and Tahrir Streets in Downtown all the way to Sherif Street where they interrupted the flow of traffic and started beating on cars. When they reached the headquarters of Banque Misr in Mohamed Farid Street, they started chanting against the Bank's president and the government.
Other workers blocked the road to the People's Assembly and lay down in the middle of the street. Some positioned themselves in front of cars belonging to MPs and officials heading to the People's Assembly. Others took off their shirts, and still others threw barricades at the parked cars, damaging several of them.
Meanwhile, other protesting workers from the Egyptian Telephone Company and el-Nubaria for Agricultural Engineering expressed their solidarity with the Amonsito workers by beating drums, whistling, and chanting slogans against the government and MPs.
الأمن ينهى اعتصامات العمال على رصيف البرلمان بعد يوم من الاشتباكات الساخنة