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Hundreds march to Egypt’s Shura Council on Labour Day

Egyptian workers chant against President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, and military in protest at lack of fulfillment of longstanding demands

Nada Hussein Rashwan, Wednesday 1 May 2013
labour day
Egyptian workers rally to Shura council on labour day (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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Hundreds of Egyptian workers and political activists have joined a march from Cairo’s Sayyeda Zeinab district to the Shura Council headquarters to voice workers' demands on Labour Day.

Protesters waved red flags as they shouted the famous slogan of Egypt's January 25 Revolution: "bread, freedom, social justice."

Many protesters also chanted against both President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to Ahram Online's reporter in the field, some chanted against the military, but were met with discontent from other protesters who demanded anti-Brotherhood chants.

The rally was called by several political parties, movements and labour organisations to voice their discontent with the unfulfilled longstanding demands of workers even after the revolution.

Among these demands are the implementation of a minimum wage set at LE1,200 ($170), independent and representative syndicates for workers, and putting an end to legislation that harms the labour movement.

"This regime is biased against the poor... it's a shame that until now 40 percent of Egyptians are living under the poverty line. We haven't seen anything from Morsi regarding social justice," spokesman of the National Salvation Front Khaled Daoud told Ahram Online.

"I'm here to celebrate but also to share the bitterness of the people towards empty promises made by the current regime," he added.

Leading the march, Kamal Abou Eita, prominent labour activist and head of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU), addressed the protesters stressing that the march is not for celebration but to voice the workers' demands.

"We're here to declare our demands, and we will take our rights," said Abou Eita, who demanded the upholding of a court verdict that sentenced Prime Minister Hisham Qandil to a year in jail.

On 17 April, Qandil was slammed with a suspended sentence of one-year in prison with a LE2,000 bail. He is accused of abstaining from implementing a verdict by the Administrative Court that ordered the renationalisation of the Tanta Flax and Oil Company, and rendered invalid the selling of the company to Saudi businessman Abdullah Al-Kaaki.

Protesters are heading to Cairo's Tahrir Square as Central Security Forces have been blocking the road to the parliament building in downtown Cairo.

On Tuesday evening, a ceremony celebrating Labour Day was held at Al-Qoba presidential palace in Cairo's Heliopolis district in the presence of President Morsi. However, the EFITU refused to take part in the ceremony, describing it as undermining the importance of workers.

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