Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Mahalla—human rights report

The Arab Commission for Human Rights Egypt on the events
of 6 April:

The workers of Misr Spinning in Mahalla al-Kubra, faced with rising prices, declining salaries and spreading corruption, called political forces to mobilise in solidarity with them and announced that 6 April would be a general strike.

The national forces responded positively to the workers' call. Some urged people to stay at home from work, others organised gatherings in the streets on the morning of 6 April in a number of governorates including Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Al-Buhayriyya and Qina.

Following this, the security forces mobilised to prevent demonstrations assembling. They encircled protests, using brutal violence to disperse the demonstrators. Several hundred leading activists have been arrested.

Police have used baton charges, water cannon, tear gas and a kind of gas which causes temporary paralysis in the limbs, as well as rubber bullets.

There are doubts as to whether the police have used live ammunition. These tactics have led to a large number of injuries and the confirmed deaths of two people, one a young man of 21 and the other a nine year old child.

In Mahalla al-Kubra thousands protested and the strike turned into open warfare between the security forces and strikers, during which many victims fell, including large numbers of injured who are still in hospital.

The rioting broke out after the news emerged of the killing of a number of demonstrators. News was circulating late on the day that the police were arresting the injured on their way to hospitals and private clinics.

Eyewitness reports indicate that elements working in conspiracy with the security forces were involved in incidents of looting and arson, including the burning of a number of schools.

The security forces imposed a curfew on Mahalla and cut off electricity. They also arrested a large number of women and children.

Picture: Taking cover in Mahalla.

No comments: