Egypt activists call for Friday rally to voice 5 key demands

Ekram Ibrahim, Thursday 30 Aug 2012

Revolutionaries call for Friday protest to demand trials for SCAF members with blood on their hands, release of military detainees, rejection of IMF loans, and LE1500 monthly minimum wage

Egyptian anti-Muslim Brotherhood protesters shout slogans and hold posters of the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser during a rally to denounce the country's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. Friday's protests were the first attempt by Morsi's opponents to stage a major demonstration against the new president. Arabic reads " no to Muslim brotherhood, save Islam from religion traders, and save your country." (Photo: AP)

Egyptian revolutionary groups are calling for a march on Friday evening in downtown Cairo to put their demands before President Mohamed Morsi. The planned march comes following calls by socialist leader Kamal Khalil for a million-man protest by all political forces.

After speaking with different political groups, Khalil revised his calls for a million-man rally downward, calling instead for a much smaller demonstration to voice five key demands.

"We agreed to wait until Morsi's first 100 days are over and until political forces can agree on a day [for the million-man protest]," Revolutionary Socialists member Haitham Mohamadin told Ahram Online.

Those groups calling for a more modest demonstration on Friday include the Popular Socialist Alliance Party, the Mena Danial Movement, the Efrag Movement, the Social Democratic Party's youth wing, the Egyptian Wave Party (a party established by the Muslim Brotherhood's young cadres), the Free Egyptian Movement and the Revolutionary Socialists.

The planned protest will articulate the following demands: putting on trial all members of Egypt's military council involved in the killing of protesters since last year's revolution; the rejection of all loan proposals from the IMF and World Bank; a national minimum monthly wage of LE1500 (and a maximum wage of LE15,000); and the release of all Egyptians detained by the military for "political reasons."

The Efrag ('Release') Movement, for its part, is calling for a protest on Cairo's Qasr Al-Nil Bridge on Friday, during which they plan to close the bridge to traffic using metal chains from 4pm to 6pm. The movement calls for the release of all Egyptians detained "for any action related to the January 25 Revolution."

The Efrag Movement was concocted in July of this year to show solidarity with those detained by the military. It is an umbrella group that also includes the 'No to Military Trials,' the 'Salafio Costa' and the 'April 6: Suez' movements.

Moreover, the National Association for Change (NAC) reform movement announced its planned participation in the Friday protests to "minimize the Muslim Brotherhood's power and for the release of military detainees," according to NAC spokesman Ahmed El-Naqr.

On Wednesday, dozens of activists – from the Revolutionary Socialists, the Kefaya protest movement, the Mina Daniel Movement, the Egyptian People's Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party – protested in downtown Cairo on Wednesday to reject loan proposals from the IMF and World Bank.

Since Mubarak's ouster early last year, Egyptian activists have campaigned under the slogan "Drop Egypt's Debts" in an effort to raise public awareness about the potentially negative economic consequences of taking loans from the IMF. 

According to some Revolutionary Socialist members, former regime loyalists had asked Khalil to join Friday's planned protest but he refused. "Those people favour both the military council and the old regime, so we can't go for a protest with them," Mohamadin told Ahram Online.

On 24 August, a couple hundred activists demonstrated against President Morsi and what they called the "Brotherhoodisation" of the state. That protest, however, was called for by a former MP, and chose for its venue the Presidential Palace in Cairo's Heliopolis district; Friday's planned rally, by contrast, is being organised by revolutionary groups.

Short link: