A group of 21 sit-in participants were released on bail Tuesday morning after being arrested and charged with breaking into the Fayoum governorate building.
The protesters, a group of teachers and employees of the Ministry of Education, were demanding contracts and permanent employment. Without permanent contracts employees can be let go at any time and do not receive benefits, such as pensions.
The four hour investigation of the twenty-one protesters lasted until five am Tuesday. They each were bailed on an EGY 300 bond. The case is pending and may yet proceed to court, according to John Is-hac, a lawyer involved in the case and a member of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPAP).
A group of independent lawyers and a delegation from the lawyers’ syndicate attended the investigation to make sure that all those arrested would not spend time in jail. Is-hac mentioned investigators displayed respect and neutrality towards protesters.
“They were charged with obstructing a public facility and breaking into the governorate building,” Is-hac said. The protesters allegedly broke in through the back door, attacking buildings and cars inside, according to state-owned news agency, MENA.
Is-hac said the protesters were arrested while police were clearing the sit-in, not during an attack on the governorate building.
An SPAP lawyer who was with the protesters during their arrest, Yasmin Hosam, tweeted the sit-in was “peaceful.”
An official statement by SPAP’s freedoms committee said that the police used a “strange” gas on protesters. They added sit-in participant and Revolutionary Socialist lawyer, Mahmoud Hassan, was attacked by the security forces.
Tens of strikers have been sitting-in in front of the governorate for days, according to MENA. They were joined Monday by Fayoum residents protesting the shortage of water and butane cylinders in the villages surrounding Qaroun lake.