By Roger Annis, Saturday July 27, 2013 (updated on July 28)
The following news articles report on the deadly events in Egypt on Friday, July 26 and July 27.
On Friday, hundreds of thousands of Egyptian people came into the streets to show support for the military coup of July 3, 2013 against the government of the Freedom and Justice Party (Muslim Brotherhood). They were responding to a call two days earlier by Egypt’s military head to come into the streets. The military said it wanted a show of support for a harsh crackdown on those protesting against the coup and demanding the release of the overthrown and imprisoned president, Mohamed Morsi (also spelled Mursi).
Opponents of the coup also protested yesterday. There were attacks on those protesting the coup, especially in Alexandria, but the real carnage came early Saturday morning in Cairo. Soldiers and police opened fire on Morsi supporters, killing at least 130 people and injuring thousands.
This is the second deadly assault on supporters of the overthrown president in three weeks. On July 8, units of the Republican Guard opened fire on a peaceful protest in front of its offices in Cairo, killing more than 50 and injuring hundreds.
Not everyone opposed to the overthrown government of the Muslim Brotherhood support the coup by the military, its call to rally on July 26 and its call for more crackdown. Among them is a dissident voice in the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions. Below is a statement by Fatma Ramadan, member of the executive bureau of the union, calling on members not to support the military.
Unfortunately, due to confusion or misleadership on the international left over the nature of the July 3 coup, international condemnations and protests against these massacres in Egypt and the imprisonment of President Morsi and his supporters have been small or non-existent. Let’s work to change this in the coming days and weeks.
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1. Egypt: ‘The injuries were very precise … the snipers were shooting to kill’
The crush of dead and injured in the field hospitals was so intense that exhausted doctors struggled to cope
Patrick Kingsley, The Observer, Sunday July 28, 2013
2. More than 70 dead, U.S. tells Egypt to pull back ‘from the brink’
Matt Robinson and Maggie Fick, Reuters, published in the Globe and Mail online, July 28, 2013
3. More than 130 Morsi supporters killed in Egypt clashes
Death toll reaches at least 136 in Cairo as Muslim Brotherhood accuses security forces of shooting to kill
By Patrick Kingsley and agencies in Cairo, The Guardian, July 27, 2013
At least 136 supporters of Egypt‘s ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, have been shot dead by security officials in what is the worst state-led massacre in the country since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, according to figures released by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood…
4. Morsi’s friends, foes stage mass rallies
Former president is being investigated on accusations of conspiring with Palestinian militant group Hamas in a prison breakout
Kareem Fahim, Robert Worth, New York Times, July 27, 2013
As vast, dueling demonstrations took place across Egypt on Friday, the state news media reported that former President Mohamed Morsi – who has been detained incommunicado for three weeks – was being investigated on accusations of conspiring with the Palestinian militant group Hamas in a prison breakout in 2011…
5. Pro-Morsi sit-ins to be dispersed ‘by law’: Egypt’s Interior Minister
Sit-ins in support of deposed president Mohamed Morsi are to be dispersed soon following complaints, says Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim
Ahram Online, Friday, July 27, 2013:
6. U.S. refuses to decide whether Egypt events were a coup
Reuters, in Washington, in The Guardian, July 26, 2013
The Obama administration told Congress on Thursday [July 25] it had no plans to determine whether a military coup occurred in Egypt, avoiding a decision that would force most of the annual $1.55bn in US aid to be cut off. The deputy secretary of state, William Burns, delivered the message in briefings to senior members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, several lawmakers told reporters after meeting him…
7. Egypt: “Do not let the army fool you” – independent union leader speaks out
Statement from Fatma Ramadan, member of the Executive Committee of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (original Arabic here).
Published on MENA Solidarity Network, July 26, 2013
My comrades, the workers of Egypt are struggling for their rights and for a better Egypt. Egypt’s workers dream of freedom and social justice, they dream of work at a time when thieves who are called businessmen close down factories to pocket billions. Egypt’s workers dream of fair wages under the rule of a governments that are only interested in promoting investment at the expense of workers and their rights, and even their lives. Egypt’s workers dream of a better life for their children. They dream of medicine when they are sick, but they do not find it. They dream of four walls in which they can take shelter.
Since before the 25th of January and you have been demanding your rights, and your strikes and demonstrations for the same unanswered demands continued after Mubarak’s overthrow. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the military have negotiated left, right and centre, not once having in mind your demands and rights. All they have in mind is how to put out the sparks you have lit with your struggle in times of darkness, even these sparks all burned in isolation from each other.
Did not the military forcibly end your strikes in Suez, Cairo, Fayyoum, and all over Egypt? Did not the military arrest many of you and subject you to military trials just for practising your right to organize, strike, and protest peacefully? Have they not adamantly worked to criminalize this right through legislation banning all Egyptians from organizing peaceful protests, strikes, and sit-ins?
Then came Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who followed in Mubarak’s footsteps with dismissals, arrests, and smashing strikes by force. It was Mursi who sent police dogs against workers at Titan Cement in Alexandria, acting through the Minister of the Interior and his men. The same police and army officers who are right now being carried shoulder-high are killers, the killers of honest, young Egyptians. They are the authorities’ weapon against us all – and always will remain so unless these institutions are cleansed.
The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are planning crimes against Egyptian people on a daily basis, which have caused the killing of innocent people, while the army and the police are facing these with brutal violence and murder. But let each of us remember, when do the army and police intervene? They intervene long after clashes have begun and are almost coming to an end, after blood has been spilled. Ask yourselves, why don’t they prevent these crimes committed by the Muslim Brotherhood against the Egyptian people before they start? Ask yourselves, in whose interest is this continuation of fighting and blood-letting? It is in the interest of both the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood and the military together. Just as the poor are cannon-fodder for wars between states, Egypt’s poor, workers and peasants, are fuel for internal war and conflict. Has not the doorman’s innocent son been killed ine Mokattam, and in Giza as well?
Today, we have been asked to go out and authorize Al-Sisi’s* killing spree, and we find all three trade union federations in agreement: the government’ Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), the Egyptian Democratic Labour Congress (EDLC), and the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) (of which I am a member of the Executive Committee). I debated with members of the EFITU executive committee in order to convince them not to issue a statement calling on its members and the Egyptian people to go down on Friday, confirming that the army, the police, and the people are one hand as stated in the statement. I was in the minority, winning four other votes versus nine votes, and thus all three trade union federations called for workers to join the protests on the pretext of fighting terrorism.
We are thus faced with jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. The Muslim Brotherhood committed crimes and it must be held accountable and prosecuted for them, just like police and army officers and men of the Mubarak regime must be held accountable and prosecuted for their crimes. Do not be fooled into replacing a religious dictatorship with a military dictatorship.
Workers of Egypt, be aware, for your demands are crystal clear. You want work for you and your children, you want fair pay, laws that protect your rights against the laws that the businessmen of Mubarak have designed to protect their interests against your rights. You want a state which has a real plan for development, opening new factories in order to absorb a growing labour force. You want freedom, freedom of all kinds, freedom to organize, freedom to strike. You want a country where you can live as free citizens without torture or murder. You have to specify what stands between you and these demands. Do not be fooled and let them take you to battles not your own. Do not listen to those who ask of you today and tomorrow to stop pressing for these demands and rights on the pretext of fighting terrorism.
Fatma Ramadan, Member of the Executive Bureau of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, Friday, July 26, 2013
Thanks to Sara Ajlyakin for the translation, edited by Anne Alexander.
* Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi
Note by RA: On July 16, Egypt’s military appointed a governing regime, following the military’s overthrow of the elected president on July 3. Appointed as minister of labour (minister of manpower) was the president of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU), Kamal Abu-Eita.
Kamal Abu-Eita – Minister of Manpower (from Jadaliyya news website):
Abu-Eita is president of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU). Since Morsi’s ouster, he has been openly supportive of the “30 June revolution” and has called on members of EFITU to end labor strikes. He is the general manager of the Giza Real Estate Tax Authority. He is one of the founders of the pan-Arab Karama Party and is founder and president of the independent union of Real Estate Tax Authority employees.
Abu-Eita is known for leading the formation of the first independent trade union, the independent general union of Real Estate Tax Authority employees, in 2009, after leading the Tax Authority employees’ national strike in 2007. He fought to split from the official state-backed General Union of Banking and Insurance Employees to which the Tax Authority employees belonged.
After the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, Abu-Eita was offered the post of minister of manpower by Yehia El-Gamal, deputy prime minister in Egypt’s interim government, but he declined the offer.
Abu-Eita was also an MP in the now dissolved 2011 parliament. In the 2011 elections, he together with other Karama candidates, ran on the Muslim Brotherhood-led Freedom and Justice Party list.
Abu-Eita was born in 1953 in Cairo’s Bulaq district.