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Egypt's opposition groups plan demos to 'win revolution's demands'

Coalition of 21 secular political groups call for nationwide demonstrations 12 October for representative constitution, economic improvements and justice for revolutionary 'martyrs'

Ahram Online, Saturday 6 Oct 2012
Tahrir square
Tahrir square (Photo by Mai Shaheen)
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Twenty one secular political parties and groups released a joint statement, Saturday, announcing nationwide protests Friday, 12 October calling for the fulfilment of the "demands of the revolution," including a consensual constitution that reflects the diversity of Egyptian society.

The participants include the Constitution Party (headed by opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradie), April 6 Movement Democratic Front, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Al-Tagammu Party and the Popular Current (led by eliminated presidential contender Hamdeen Sabbahi).

The secular coalition believes that the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties are pushing to achieve Islamist political hegemony and turn Egypt into a theocratic state.

Consequently the main demand of Friday's demonstrations is a representative constitution, particularly at a time when Islamist and liberal members of Egypt's Constituent Assembly continue to fight over articles related to religion and freedom of expression in Egypt's national charter.

Key economic demands are also listed in the joint statement, including the implementation of a minimum monthly wage of LE1500 and a maximum wage of LE22,500,  government control over rising prices and the repatriation of funds illegally accumulated and transferred overseas by former regime figures.

The group is also calling on President Mohamed Morsi's administration to stop incurring debts from foreign countries, adding that there are "alternative sources of funding that the government can depend on." $4.8 billion loan talks between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund are set to resume at the end of October.  

In addition, the coalition is demanding that the government fight corruption, rampant unemployment (which has reached 12 per cent) and the deterioration of the education and health care system.

They also insist that the executive body deal with the issue of the country's slums and "purge" governmental bodies and institutions (especially those related to security and media).

Although former president Hosni Mubarak and his interior minister Habib El-Adly were sentenced to life for "failing to protect civilians" during the January 25 Revolution, no member of Egypt's security forces has been charged.

Consequently the 21 parties and groups are demanding that those responsible for "killing and torturing thousands of Egyptian revolutionaries since the uprising began" face trial.

They are also calling on the government to "honour" the revolutionaries who were killed and injured and release the remaining "8 April officers", who were imprisoned after joining protests against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces last year.  

The ongoing crisis in the Sinai Peninsula is also an issue the parties raised. They demand a "clear plan to control" the growing militant problem in the border region.

The 21 political parties and groups that have announced their participation in the protests are: The National Commission for Change, the Democratic Revolutionary Coalition, the Egyptian Socialist Party, the Egyptian Communist Party, Socialist Popular Alliance Party, Al-Tagammu Party, Labours and Farmers Party, the Popular Democratic Movement, the Mina Daniel Movement, the National Coalition for Fighting Corruption, Revolutionary Popular Movement (January), The Egyptian Popular Current, Constitution Party, Egyptian Social Democratic Party, April 6 Movement (Democratic Front), Revolution Youth Union, Free Front for Peaceful change, Coalition of Female Organisations, Egyptian Innovation Front, Revolutionary Forces Coalition and the National Committee for Defending Freedom of Speech.  

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