CAIRO: Security bodies forcibly broke up a protest by workers from the Information Centers for Local Development (ICLD) on Tuesday.
Over 1,000 ICLD workers gathered early Tuesday morning outside of downtown Cairo’s Cabinet Office, following last week’s worker rejection of a recent government decision to reassign them to the health and housing ministries.
Lawyer Haitham El-Mohamedain told Daily News Egypt that ICLD workers blocked one of Cairo’s most congested roads — Qasr El-Eini Street — before being forced back inside the cordon of security forces.
Student activist Gigi Ibrahim posted a video on YouTube showing one ICLD worker, El-Sayed El-Badawy, attempting to hang off of a tree branch. Shortly afterwards, Ibrahim wrote on Twitter that “the [security forces] are not beating people, [but many people fainted inside the security] cordon.”
Approximately 40 police officers entered the security barrier at 6:30 pm and began physically removing ICLD workers, according to El-Mohamedain.
The police had assembled buses that they planned to use to transport the protesting workers away. El-Mohamedain says that while some workers were forcibly pushed onto the buses, all of them subsequently got off the vehicles and left the area on foot.
According to statements Minister of Local Development Abdel Salam Al-Mahgoub gave to Al-Masry Al-Youm, the new contracts that will officially reassign ICLD workers to the Ministries of Health and Housing will be drawn up in “exactly a week.” Al-Mahgoub also stated that the workers will receive the increased salaries —which they were promised in a decree given in May — this December.
Under the May decree, ICLD workers were promised increased monthly salaries between LE 320 and LE 380, depending on each worker’s qualifications.
In statements to the same newspaper, leader of the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions Hussein Megawer said that he will hold a meeting with the ICLD workers. During which, Megawer will urge them to “be patient” and to not allow themselves to be “led astray by the destructive [workers among the group] who provoke [the government by staging] protests and strikes.”
The ICLD workers have rejected the decision made last week to change their job positions to “rural community leaders,” as many of the workers view the job reassignment as an attempt by the government to avoid implementing the promises it made in May.
Workers have also pointed out that current rural community leaders were themselves protesting a mere two weeks ago over unpaid wages.