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Ambivalence over April 6 strike as police goes on alert - Daily News Egypt

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Ambivalence over April 6 strike as police goes on alert

CAIRO: Hours before its “day of anger , the April 6 Youth Movement has issued a statement which it encourages people to spread by throwing it off buildings and bridges, as Egyptian police goes on alert mode. The statement encourages employed people to announce that they are on strike and stage protests either at their …


CAIRO: Hours before its “day of anger , the April 6 Youth Movement has issued a statement which it encourages people to spread by throwing it off buildings and bridges, as Egyptian police goes on alert mode.

The statement encourages employed people to announce that they are on strike and stage protests either at their place of work, or join a mass demonstration scheduled to be held outside the headquarters of the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions in Cairo at noon.

University students “suffering from poor quality education are encouraged to cut classes and join protests on university campuses while taxi drivers “being forced to pay high petrol prices are told not to work.

Everyone is encouraged “to wear black when you leave home. There’s nothing stopping you from wearing black.

“Take part in whatever way you wish . because the only solution to the terrible conditions in Egypt is that we stand together against this corrupt government which is slaughtering us all, the statement reads.

“In advanced countries it’s the government which fears the people and is scared to do anything wrong. In Egypt it’s the people which fear the government, and that’s the cause of all our disasters – because we allow them to rob us.

On Saturday the Youth Movement published the results of an “opinion poll it conducted in Cairo and other areas in Egypt where ordinary citizens were asked whether they’d heard of the April 6 strike and whether they would take part in it.

According to the results published on the Youth Movement’s blog, 95 percent of people in Downtown Cairo had heard of the strike and 90 percent intended to take part. Shop owners in there also intend to close their shops on the today because of “fears that they will be damaged , according to the website.

In the final hours before a “day of anger announced by the April 6 Youth Movement, lawyers and rights groups said yesterday that they would be offering legal support to the protestors they expect will be arrested during demonstrations.

While the Youth Movement says on its website that a wide range of political groups will take part in the day of anger, the extent of this participation varies.

In a statement released last week, the Muslim Brotherhood calls on Egyptians to “express their anger and objection to the policies of the regime which has squandered the country s riches, neglected its national security and stripped Egypt of its role as leader and pioneer.

Ayman Nour told Daily News Egypt last month during an interview that his party, El-Ghad, is in solidarity with strikers but will not be joining the strike.

As for April 6, 2009, we share in the anger but not in the strike. We share in the anger on the basis that we feel anger at the deterioration of conditions in Egypt. We express it in several ways; all political forces have their method of expression and all will commemorate April 6 in their own way, Nour said.

Workers groups are ambivalent about today s protests. “Workers are in solidarity with the protest and the grievances for which it has been organized but will not be taking part in the form of strikes at the workplace, Saber Barakat, a member of the Workers and Trade Union Freedoms Coordinating Committee, told Daily News Egypt.

“The Youth Movement has done a good job of using the media to spread the protest message but it s still too early to talk about a national industrial strike when the workers movement faces the obstacle of the state s oppressive security apparatus, Barakat continued.

The leftist Tadamon solidarity group is even more skeptical about the chances of organizing a meaningful general strike.

It compares the situation this year with the first call for a general strike made in 2008, which coincided with the call for a strike made by the Ghazl El-Mahalla spinning factory workers.

“Before we take a position on April 6 we have to answer a fundamental question: are opposition forces currently capable of organizing a successful general strike?

“We believe that the answer is no. April 6 will not be a general strike however much it is hoped that it would be. . It is not expected that many workers and popular movements will adopt the call for the strike. In our opinion what will most likely happen is a smaller version of April 6, 2008, that is April 6, 2009 will take place without Mahalla – stripping it of much of its weight.

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