Demonstration in Alexandria on Tuesday
Thousands of young people are defying the Egyptian police state and demanding the removal of the government
Demonstrations in Egypt started on Tuesday and despite a brutal government crackdown with hundreds arrested, show no sign of abating. The brutality of the Egyptian police is well known - films from Cairo and Suez show protestors being singled out and bundled into police cars by baton waving policemen. Some reports say as many as 1200 have been detained. In Suez more anger was sparked by the killing of three demonstrators by security forces on Tuesday.
Over 60% 0f the population in Egypt and 90% of the unemployed are under 30. 40% of the people live on less than $2 a day while the ruling elite live in luxury. Egypt is one of the main allies of the US, receiving $1.3 billion per year in military aid - second only to Israel.
The teachers' union in Egypt is closely allied to the state - and last July 5000 teachers set up a new independent union. Teachers typically earn $200 a month and teach classes of 80 to 90 children - the illiteracy rate in the country is over 30%. According to a report in an opposition newspaper: 'the government has always kept a close eye on the teachers union. Since 1956, the syndicate has been headed by figures–usually associated with the Education Ministry–known for their loyalty to the ruling regime.’ because, 'It has a huge number of members who, if they ever turned against the government, could potentially launch a revolution.' See previous post: http://www.teachersolidarity.com/blog/egyptian-teachers-form-independent-union/#more-751
The protestors are calling for mass demonstrations tomorrow - after the end of the working week. The protests have been partly inspired by the mass movements in Tunisia - in which the teachers' unions are playing a prominent role. As reported on this website, unrest has also spread to Algeria and in Yemen too there have been demonstrations over the weekend by students calling for the overthrow of another western ally who like Mubarek in Egypt has been in power for decades governing a country rich in oil but where half the population lives on less than $2 a day.