CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) will not participate in the Ghazl Al Mahalla cotton workers’ strike scheduled for April 6, the group’s lawyer told Daily News Egypt.
“The Brotherhood will not participate in the April 6 strike, Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud said, also denying any knowledge of press reports claiming the group released a statement urging Egyptians to go on strike to attain their rights.
In an interview with the group’s website, ikhwanonline, MB Supreme Guide Mohamed Mahdi Akef said that the workers’ strike was a specific action made by a specific group for a specific demand, and therefore the Brotherhood was not obligated to participate.
Akef did reiterate the right of any group to strike in order to achieve its aims.
Al-Masrawy online news portal had reported that the MB had released a statement urging Egyptians to act positively in attempting to attain their rights and that striking was a constitutional right.
In response, Minister of Interior Habib Al-Adly held a meeting with his aides Wednesday to organize a response to any attempts to instigate “criminal activities, Al-Masrawy reported.
Additionally, Al-Adly pointed out that state security bodies would continue taking the necessary measures against extremist groups trying to “sneak into the arena of legitimacy without a political base and away from any popular support.
The strike on April 6 has evolved into a wider arena within Egypt, with many calling for a national strike on the day. Supporters are attempting to turn it into a national day of civil disobedience, in protest at numerous government actions.
The list of grievances runs long, from personal liberties to education to economic wellbeing, most notable recently in the bread crisis that has gripped the country.
In recent days, anti-government groups have been sending mobile phone messages and emails to people around the country to hold protests, stay home from work, avoid shopping, wear black clothes and hang the Egyptian flag from windows and balconies in a show of support for the strikers.
Meanwhile, the MB currently find themselves on the receiving end of a massive crackdown by the government, who seem to have run out of patience for the legally outlawed but previously tolerated group.
The Associated Press reported on Friday that Egypt arrested 34 MB members, including a top decision maker ahead of this month’s municipal elections.
State security forces stormed the houses of the Brotherhood members in several northern and southern cities during a dawn raid, the group said in a statement. Mohammed Badie, a member of the group’s decision making body, was among those arrested, it said.
Amnesty International criticized the government Friday for its crackdown against the group.
”Amnesty International is concerned that many of those arrested and detained may be prisoners of conscience held for the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression and association,” the rights group said in a statement.
”It is calling for those who are being held as prisoners of conscience to be released immediately and unconditionally, and for the Egyptian authorities to lift all other unlawful restrictions on the exercise of freedom of expression.”
Human Rights Watch has termed the crackdown “shameless, saying it has cast doubt on the legitimacy of the upcoming elections.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday alone, 255 members were arrested in six different provinces according to AFP after demonstrations protesting previous crackdowns on the group.
Three thousand members took to the streets in Zaqaziq, 2,000 in Alexandria and 1,500 marched in Damanhur.