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Democracy Index releases report on 2013 protests

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Number of protests “reflects the failure of the [Egyptian] system to ensure economic and social rights”

Egyptian Islamist groups led by the ruling Muslim Brotherhood take part in a demonstration to mark the upcoming one year anniversary since President Mohamed Morsi (portrait) was elected, on June 21, 2013 in Cairo. (AFP Photo)

Egyptian Islamist groups led by the ruling Muslim Brotherhood took part in a demonstration to mark  anniversary since President Mohamed Morsi (portrait) was elected, on June 21, 2013 in Cairo.
(AFP File Photo)

Democracy Index released Monday its comprehensive report on 2013’s protests, breaking down the 14,270 individual protests based on demands of the protesters. The report is split into two, first detailing protests for social and economic rights and lastly detailing civil and political demands.

According to the report, 70% of the protests that took place pre-30 June were organised to demand social and economic rights, whereas post-ouster, only 20-30% of protests were concerned with said rights.

A total of 3,212 protests were organised to demand labour rights, “especially the right to work or the rights relating to appropriate pay” for workers.

A total of 1,052 protests were organised to claim wages, back pay, or promised demands. Of the protests, the report says: “Workers, who lie between the hammer of the low scarcity of wages and salaries and the anvil of price rises, have [been given] no practical solution to the issue of minimum and maximum incomes.”

2014 has already seen crippling strikes at factories such as the Mahalla Spinning and Weaving company, although workers from seven companies later joined the strikes.

Workers also gathered to protest corruption and nepotism, which, according to the report, “were the main engine of uprising of the Egyptian people in January [2011] and June [2013]”.

2013 witnessed more than 2,000 protests pertaining to the education environment in Egypt, although only 591 dealt with administrative issues. The report noted that present conditions on college campuses are “worse than before 2011,” and that the educational environment is “something that requires the immediate intervention of the state to protect the Egyptian education system from sliding into a quagmire”.

The health sector only witnessed two protests in 2013, but the Index noted that “patients do not protest, they only suffer. This is what the Egyptian state must be aware of … only two demonstrations of their systems of patients do not express the size of the face of violations of [patients’] rights in hospitals”.

A total of 67% of 2013’s protests, or 8,999, were political. According to the report, “the fall of the regime and the beginning of the transitional phase outlining a new regime amid political infighting” further encouraged protests.

According to the report, the first half of 2013 witnessed 1,312 anti-Muslim Brotherhood protests, whereas post 3-July witnessed 2,679 protests against interim authorities, who many accused of staging a coup.

A total of 1,149 protests were organised to express solidarity with detainees, whose numbers swelled after Morsi’s ouster and during the subsequent crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Another 153 protests were organised to mobilise citizens against 2013’s Protest Law, which essentially outlaws public gatherings and marches unless permission is granted by the Ministry of Interior.

The report, which intermittently questions future authorities’ abilities to control constant and ongoing protests, ends with “five basic tools” used to suppress freedom in Egypt: restrictive legislation (the Protest Law); suppressive security; political trials for demonstrators; encouragement of citizens loyal to the regime to protest in favour of present authorities themselves; and disinformation.


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