Civil disobedience launches in Egyptian Nile Delta cities of Mansoura and Mahalla

Ahram Online, Sunday 24 Feb 2013

Opposition leaders publish fliers and Facebook statement defending their methods, saying civil disobedience is a legitimate means to express grievances; industrial cities join Sunday by blocking roads

Protesters stand outside main Daqahliya governorate building, archive photo (Photo: Al-Ahram Arabic)

Protesters enter into civil disobedience in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura on Sunday, blocking the main roads into the city and the entrance to the central governorate building.

This comes following late night clashes on Saturday in the Daqahliya governorate between protesters and the police after protesters blocked the main roads in the city and built a brick wall to halt traffic in and out of Mansoura.

Hundreds were reported to be demonstrating by 10am Sunday in the campaign called for by a number of local political groups and activists.

The movement published a statement on Facebook and in printed fliers Saturday titled "They are laughing at you," that defended their actions against critics. Strike leaders have been attacked for affecting the economy and production, but, they argue, civil disobedience is, in fact, a legitimate and customary means by which citizens can peacefully express their grievances.

"For a long time our demands have gone unnoticed through other peaceful protests and the time now comes to launch civil disobedience to reach our goal of getting rid of the current regime," the statement reads, which refrains from identifying who is making the call.

The statement specified for residents to refuse to pay electricity bills, and encouraged them to strike from work and participate in any other action that would protest the "injustice against your revolution and your dignity and your being."

Recently, the Suez Canal city of Port Said practiced civil disobedience for almost a week over increased marginalisation and the death sentences handed to 21 of the city's residents in relation to attacks in a football stadium during a match in Port Said stadium.

In the Nile Delta city of Mahalla, also in Gharbiya governorate, hundreds went on strike and blockaded the main routes into the city on Sunday as part of a campaign of civil disobedience.

A campaign of civil disobedience was also carried out in the village of Tahsin in Daqahliya governorate in September 2012, in protest at government neglect and a lack of infrastructure.

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