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The April 6 Youth Movement

The April 6 Youth Movement began in the spring of 2008 as a Facebook group expressing support for workers protesting in the industrial city of Al-Mahalla Al-Kurba.

Hazem Zohny, Friday 26 Nov 2010
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Views: 3280

The April 6 Youth Movement began in the spring of 2008 as a Facebook group expressing support for workers protesting in the industrial city of Al-Mahalla Al-Kurba. The group quickly gained momentum, drawing 100,000 users to its cause. The Al-Mahalla protests escalated into a nationwide strike scheduled for 6 April 2008. Organizers of the group urged its followers to show their support by not going to work and by abstaining from purchasing any product on that day. In the aftermath of the strike, a large political movement emerged - the April 6 Youth Movement. Relying heavily on the use of online networking tools, the movement has since organized other protests, including demonstrations in support of Gaza and jailed bloggers and journalists. However, the severity of the government's response to the original April strike, which included the harassment in imprisonment of many of the group’s members, caused for the movement to weaken. Nevertheless, by 2009, the group still claimed some 70,000 members in its Facebook group, attracting many well-educated and politically-conscious Egyptians. Following the violent events that took place during the movement’s 2009 and 2010 anniversary strikes, the group announced a new anti-NDP campaign in July 2010, titled “Egypt is our Homeland, not theirs.” The campaign and its organizers have also endorsed Mohammed ElBaradei’s seven-point petition for change, and the group’s campaign has collected over 5000 signatures of August 2010. One of the defining traits of the movement has been its association with Egyptian youth. Two of the movement’s founding members, Israa Abdel Fattah and Ahmed Maher, were under the age of 30 when the original Facebook group was created, and a significant proportion of its supporters can likewise be considered youth. Some critics have pointed to the demographic limitations of the movement’s supporters, also noting its failure to establish a strong grassroots network beyond Facebook. While the group is not a formal establishment or a party, several leaders of other parties have occasionally expressed solidarity with the movement, and members of various parities participated in the movement’s 6 April 2010 demonstration. There has also been some collaboration between the group the Kifaya. Websites: www.6april.org www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=38588398289

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