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Dozens demonstrate against Cabinet-IMF negotiations

Protesters in Cairo demand a halt to Egypt's ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.5 billion loan

Ahram Online, Nada Hussein Rashwan, Mai Shaheen, Monday 12 Nov 2012
Protesters hold a sign saying "Open your eyes, the debt will be repaid from your pocket and mine" during Monday's protest against the IMF negotiations (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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Dozens of activists marched on the headquarters of the Cabinet in Downtown Cairo to protest the government's ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a proposed $4.5 billion loan.

Protesters gathered in front of the Stock Exchange Market near the Cabinet in central Cairo at 5pm Monday, before heading to the Cabinet building.

Members of the Socialist Popular Alliance party, one of the groups participating in the march, held a large banner at the protest saying: "No to the IMF loan, no to conditional borrowing at the expense of the poor, yes to enforcing progressive taxation on businessmen."

Several Egyptian political groups sent a letter on Sunday to Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Christine Lagarde rejecting ongoing negotiations for a proposed $4.5 billion loan.

The letter, released by 18 mostly left-leaning groups, condemned the "lack of transparency" that they say has characterised the government's ongoing loan talks with the global financial institution.

In mid-October, an IMF delegation visited Cairo to work out the details of the proposed $4.5 billion loan agreement. Last week, Egyptian finance minister Momtaz El-Said said he expected the deal to be signed by January of next year.

Few details about the negotiations, or the economic programme prepared by the government and presented to the IMF delegation, have been made public, however.

The Egyptian government expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with the International Monetary Fund for the loan before an IMF negotiating team leaves Cairo on Wednesday, Finance Minister Momtaz El-Said said Monday afternoon.

Signatories to the letter, who are also the organisers of Monday's march, include the Strong Egypt Party, the April 6 Youth Movement, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights, the National Independent Federation of Workers' Syndicates and the Egyptian Popular Current, among others.

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