The Guardian 23 April, 2008
Statement from Communist Party of Egypt
Since the early morning of April 18, special security forces, anti-riot forces, and security personnel wearing civilian uniforms have occupied downtown Cairo to crack down on demonstrations in the city. In other cities, such as Alexandria and Algharbia, inhabitants have witnessed a heavy security force presence in the main squares and streets.
The city of Almahalla Alkobra was the location of the largest demonstrations.
Nearly 200 activists have already been arrested at different times across different provinces. A number of workers are on strike in solidarity with the demands of striking workers of the Ghazl Almahalla spinning and weaving company. Their central demand is that wages must be linked to the rate of inflation — which affects not only Ghazl Almahalla workers, but also all of the Egyptian working class.
The Ghazl Almahalla workers’ strike turned into a huge demonstration covering the whole city of Almahalla Alkobra. Poor people, peasants and workers all joined the demonstrations. Nearly 30,000 citizens chanted slogans against rising prices, against monopolies, neo-liberalism and market forces.
The Egyptian central security forces attacked the demonstrators using tear-gas grenades, plastic bullets, electric-shock batons (tasers) and live bullets, resulting in hundreds of injuries amongst the demonstrators. The security forces arrested and detained both injured and uninjured demonstrators.
The news from Almahalla Alkobra confirms the death of at least 2 citizens — one is a nine year-old girl and the other is a 20 year-old male.
The "black forces" — a branch of the security forces — burned some shops, public buildings, trains and vehicles, in order to be able to fabricate charges against detained demonstrators and workers. Their aim is to tighten the grip of the police and the state on the working class and to contain rising social awareness in Egypt, which has greatly increased in the last five years.
We appeal to you to support the just and fair demands of the Ghazl Almahalla workers and their right to choose the means to express their demands, whether in the form of demonstrations, strikes or other methods. (Forty-two communist and workers parties have sent messages of solidarity.)
We, the communists and all the democratic and social forces, urgently alert you to the fact that the police, acting on instructions from the state, will start a huge campaign of repression against the working class in general and the Ghazl Almahalla workers in particular.
These concerns arise from the thuggery of the security forces’ reaction in Almahalla Alkobra city today. The warning also arises from the intentions of the security forces to deliberately fabricate charges against workers’ leaders.