Friday, March 27, 2009

Zionist War Criminals Sing Praises for Mubarak's Pro-Israeli Policies

Israeli war criminals have found a reliable (pro-Zionist, pro-Imperialist) ally in the old Egyptian Dictator Hosni Mubarak. For not only does this imperialist stooge support Israel and the US government - he also opposes Iran, Hamas & Hezbollah.

Read the praises that the Zionist war criminals and their mouthpieces are singing to Mubarak:
Amos Gilad: Egypt our ally against Iran, Hamas

Again, I must say that I am truly ashamed of being a citizen of (Mubarak's pro-Zionist) Egypt

Strike call in Egypt evokes mixed reaction

Gulf News
By Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent
Published: March 27, 2009

Cairo: A call for a nationwide strike to push for wider reforms has provoked mixed reactions in the country.

For the second year in a row, the Youth Movement, a protest group, has launched a call for a general strike on April 6 on popular social networking website Facebook.

Launching the call under the title 'It's our right and we'll take it', the organisers have urged participants to stay at home on April 6 and raise the national flag on balconies to show their solidarity to the movement.

The strike call was welcomed by Kefaya (Enough), a protest movement that is openly critical of 81-year-old President Hosni Mubarak's policies.

"Workers, farmers, students, university professors, professional unions and political groups should coordinate among themselves in order to rally the Egyptian population around key demands on the Day of Anger, i.e. April 6," Kefaya said in a statement this week.

The group, which is a loose umbrella of secularists, Islamists, liberals and leftists, wants higher wages, police removed from campuses, weeding out corruption, suspending a peace treaty with Israel and halting gas exports to it, and releasing all prisoners detained after violent protests in the industrial city of Al Mahala Al Koubra on April 6, 2008.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which is Egypt's strongest opposition force, has yet to make its stance clear. "Being a political entity wielding huge influence... the Muslim Brotherhood's support is crucial to any action," Mohammad Habib, the deputy supreme guide of the Brotherhood, said.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Strike Leads to Victory for Workers at the Shebin El Kom Textile Co.

After having staged a strike for a period of ten days, some 4,400 workers employed at the Indorama Shebin El Kom Textile Company managed to score a victory on March 15.

The Indorama Company's administrative board finally agreed to pay the workers their overdue 228 days worth of wages - amounting to their normal annual bonus pay.

The events at the Shebin El Kom Textile Co. prove that Egyptian workers (and professionals) will always be able to reclaim their rights and liberties through collective action, particularly through strike action.

Congratulations to the resilient textile workers of Shebin El Kom!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Videos of Strike at the Shebin El Kom Textile Co.

Links to videos documenting the workers' strike at the Indorama Shebin El Kom Textile Company

فديوات إضراب غزل شبين
Courtesy of Marie DuBoc & Ehab Shalaby

4,400 Workers Still on Strike at the Shebin El Kom Textile Company

Some 4,400 workers at the Indorama Shebin El Kom Textile Company - in the Nile Delta Governorate of El Mounufiya – are persisting in their ongoing strike, for the ninth consecutive day (as of Saturday, March 14). All production at the company is at a standstill (since Thursday, March 5) as these workers demand their annual bonus pay - amounting to 228 days of wages - which has been withheld by the Indian investors who own/manage this now-privatized company. The investors have claimed that, “due to financial difficulties”, they are unable to pay the workers their bonus pay this year.

The president of the local labor union council at the company, Ibrahim Younis, said that ever since the company was privatized (in 2006) its new owners “have been claiming that they are annually incurring losses and that these total losses may amount to LE 50-60 million. In any case, these alleged losses have been incurred as a result of the investors’ faulty financial and administrative policies. We only follow their production plans; the workers at the company are not to blame in any way.”

The union president went on to say that “since the Indian investors took over the company they have increased the speed of all textile mills in the company from 9,000rph to 17,000rph – in order to increase production – so instead of producing 32 tons of textiles per month we are now producing 47 tons per month.” The vice president of the local union council, Abbas Ammar, added that “over 20 workers have their lost fingers and hands in work related-injuries since the administration ordered this vast increase in the speed of all textile mills/machines.”

The 11-member local union council had engaged itself in negotiations with the company’s administrative board (from January 27 to February 10) in attempt to have the investors pay the workers their rightfully due annual bonus pay. “When the administrative board refused to heed our demands, we resorted to the Spinning & Weaving (Textiles) Holding Company, and to the General Union of Textile Workers” said Younis. “We received a reply from the General Union on February 15 – in which they supported our demands and insisted that the administration pay our overdue annual bonuses.

Furthermore, on February the 25th the Labor Ministry officially informed the administration that it must uphold the terms of agreement which it signed – including the payment of annual bonuses – regardless of the losses incurred.” Younis concluded “if the administrative board is not willing to stick to its agreements then it should be placed under some sort of judicial sequestration.”

On Saturday, March 7, the President of the (state-controlled) General Union of Textile Workers, Saeed El Gohari paid a visit to the local union council at the company and reiterated the demand that the administrative board pay-up the overdue bonuses. Outside the company’s main gate El Gohari said that “there are terms of agreement which the Indian investors have signed with the Holding Company and the Labor Ministry. They must fulfill these agreements.” El Gohari said “we support the workers’ demands and their peaceful sit-in.”

Yet he refused to recognize the workers’ collective action as being a “strike” – since any strike must be authorized by a 2/3 majority vote from the general union council (*it must be noted here that NOT A SINGLE STRIKE HAS EVER BEEN AUTHORIZED BY ANY GENERAL UNION since the Egyptian state forcefully took control over the union movement in 1957.)

El Gohari shouted at the workers “we support you in your demands, but insist that any measure you undertake must be conducted in accordance with the legal channels.” One worker replied “we will take to the streets (in protest) if need be.” El Gohari (a member of the ruling National “Democratic” Party) screamed back: “No! All your actions must be limited within the confines of the company walls! No talk of taking to the streets please!”

Hundreds of workers were sitting-in/sleeping-in at each of the company’s six factories. “These are the worst days that this company has ever been through –ever since it was established in 1958” said one textile worker. Another worker said that “the Indian investors are ruining and destroying this company. I used to work in Factory # 2 until they closed it, now they are attempting to close down Factory # 3 as well.”

On a guided tour of the dark and now-abandoned Factory # 2, the vice president of the local union council said that “the administration is trying to drive away the full-time workers employed at the company and replace them with piece-work laborers who are paid less and have far fewer rights. Around 200 workers from this factory have been laid off, 163 of whom were pushed into early retirement. The investors are dismantling the mills and machinery in this factory and selling them as scrap metal.”

Yet another worker exclaimed “there is a grave misallocation of finances at this company. I have been working at this company since 1982 and I only make LE 500 per month (around $US 90); my basic wage is only LE 330; and now they want to take away our annual bonus pay as well?!” On March 14, Ehab Shalabi, an engineer at the company said that “we shall continue (with our strike) until we reclaim our right. We expect that the administration will give-in to our rightful demands within the next day or two, God willing.”

The last major strike by workers at the Shebin El Kom Textile Company was conducted in February 2007 – it proved successful and encouraged many workers and professionals in the textile sector, and beyond, to strike for their rights.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Photos of Shebin El Kom Textile Workers' Strike

STRIKE! Photos of Shebin El Kom Textile Workers

Photos taken at the Indorama Shebin El Kom Textile Company on Saturday March 7

Jano Charbel

AFP - Protestors riot over Sweden-Israel Davis Cup match

Saturday, March 7

Protestors riot over Sweden-Israel Davis Cup match

MALMOE, Sweden (AFP) — More than 100 masked demonstrators clashed Saturday with Swedish police outside a sports arena amid a larger protest against the Scandinavian country's Davis Cup tie against Israel.

Youths clad in black, their faces covered with masks, threw bottles of paint, stones and firecrackers at police in riot squad vans and on horseback, sending the horses into a panic.

One of the demonstrators climbed onto a police van and, applauded by the crowd, stomped on its flashing lights until they were smashed to bits.

Another demonstrator drew a large "A" on the window of a police car.

"We are ... anarchists who want to protest against the fact that there are this many police officers to protect the representatives of a repressive occupying force that massacred so many innocent people in Gaza," the demonstrator, who identified himself only as Jan, told AFP.

The large police deployment then charged the demonstrators, who were shouting "stop the match," and arrested at least five people, police spokesman Lars-Haakan Lindholm said.

The violent demonstrators were part of a larger, authorised demonstration organised by the Stop the Match network to protest against Israel's recent offensive in Gaza.

The march, which gathered between 6,000 and 10,000 demonstrators according to various estimates from police and organisers, wound up around 3:30 pm (1430 GMT).

Police were also stationed early Saturday around Malmoe's train station to check trains from neighbouring Denmark for troublemakers.

Due to security fears, Malmoe city council had ordered the three-day World Group first round match played behind closed doors.

On Friday, some 200 people demonstrated peacefully outside the Baltiska Hallen arena, as Sweden and Israel each won a singles match.

On Saturday, Sweden won the doubles match, as Simon Aspelin and Robert Lindstedt defeated Israel's Amir Hadad and Andy Ram 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.

Inside the stadium, only teams, media and guests were allowed in the stands which normally seat 4,000 people.

The tie wraps up on Sunday, when two singles matches are to be played.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Egyptian Lawyers continue protest, Parliament expected pass contentious draft law

Daily News Egypt
Yasmine Saleh

First Published: March 1, 2009

CAIRO: Lawyers vowed to continue their sit-in inside the Lawyers’ Syndicate throughout this week in protest at a new draft law that would increase lawsuit fees 10-fold.

The Legislative Committee of the People’s Assembly (PA) had already approved the draft law. It’s now pending the approval of the members of parliament.

Mohamed Khalil Kwaitah, MP affiliated with the National Democratic Party (NDP), told Daily News Egypt that “the PA will not be conducting any discussions or changes to this law.”

In a statement, Lawyers Against Increasing Lawsuits’ Fees, the movement spearheading the protests, said it wants article 9 of the current law to stay in its original form, leaving lawsuits’ fees unchanged.

Lawyers vowed to continue protesting and threatened to go on hunger strike if their demands weren’t met.

Under the current law, article 9, a plaintiff who asks for financial compensation would pay a token fee that never exceeds LE 100. With the amendments, the amount of money a plantiff would pay in advance in such cases would increase.

“For example, when a plaintiff was asking for LE 100,000 as financial compensation, he used to pay around LE 43 as court fees as well as LE 27.50 as fees for the Judges Social Fund Project; LE 70.50 in total,” the lawyers’ movement explained in its statement.

“But now, the newly introduced 0.5 percent increase, means that the plaintiff would pay the LE 500 as token fees along with LE 250 for the Judges Social Fund Project; a total of LE 750,” the statement continued.

Fathi Ragab, deputy chairman of the Shoura Council, previously told Daily News Egypt in a previous interview that Article 23 waives the fees from those who cannot afford them, provided the court verifies their financial inability.

Based on the new law, fees will range from LE 10–50, an increase from the old law’s LE 1–5. The old law was issued in 1944 and had not undergone any amendments since.

In protests at the Lawyers’ Syndicate last week, independent lawyers mocked PA speaker Fathi Sorour, Mamdouh Marei, minister of justice, and Ahmed Ezz, chairman of the National Democratic Party’s logistics committee and head of the PA’s planning and budget committee, which resulted in clashes with NDP-affiliated lawyers.

Lawyers placed banners reading “public Enemies” above puppets representing Sorour, Marie and Ezz.

Last week, lawyers nationwide suspended their criminal court cases in protest at the newly approved law and held protests in front of the Cabinet building where they chanted slogans against it as well as Marei and Ezz.

Hamdy Khalifa, chairman of the Lawyers’ Syndicate, sent a letter to Sorour and Amal Othman, chairperson of the PA’s legislation committee, addressing the problem, he told the press.

“The right to file a lawsuit should not be subject to any regulations or legislation that may prevent citizens from resorting to the legal system,” the letter read.