Egypt protests hit all-time high during Morsi's first year: Report

Ahram Online , Tuesday 25 Jun 2013

Country sees 9,427 protests during President Morsi's first year in power, representing seven-fold increase from those seen during final year of Mubarak regime, International Development Centre claims

Mohamed Morsi
Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian dissent has hit an all-time high "since the pharaonic era," according to a new report by the Cairo-based International Development Centre (IDC), with a total of 9,427 protests held during the first year of President Mohamed Morsi's term.

The IDC's 'Democratic Indicator' report showed a seven-fold increase in the number of monthly demonstrations in Egypt, from 176 a month in the last year of the Hosni Mubarak regime – which climaxed with Egypt's January 2011 uprising – to 1140 protests per month in 2013.

The report covers the first year of Morsi's term in office, from 1 July of last year to 20 June 2013.

The number of protests seen during the first half of the year doubled in the second half, from 500 protests to 1140, eventually culminating in mass anti-government demonstrations on 30 June, the report stated.

The anti-Morsi 'Rebel' signature campaign has capitalised on the wave of public discontent, collecting 15 million signatures in support of the president's ouster, the report notes. The signature drive is spearheading calls for the 30 June protests.

According to the Democratic Indicator, labour protests (4,609) have made up 49 percent of the total number of protests, in which 60 different socio-economic segments took part. In an indication of this, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has added Egypt to its black list of countries that violate labour rights.

Grassroots support was behind 27 percent of the protests, while participation by political and civilian activists made up 13 percent, the report stated.

Cairo came first in terms of the number of protests seen, followed by the Nile Delta cities of Gharbiya and Sharqiya. The Mediterranean city of Alexandria came in fourth.

"The categories that took part in the protests reflected the hostility of the current regime towards almost all sections of Egyptian society," the report argued.

The report went on to claim that such hostility had found its way into state institutions, including the judiciary and the interior ministry, "constituting a model of dictatorship by the ruling regime and its hope to dominate authority."

The chorus of protests throughout the year was predominantly the result of economic and social grievances (67 percent) and labour demands (49 percent).

According to the Democratic Indicator, demands for better housing and public services, along with shortages of fuel, bread and electricity, also acted as catalysts for protest activity.

Attempts by the regime to cement control over the state bureaucracy, marginalisation of the political opposition, and clampdowns on freedoms, the report alleges, caused 31 percent of the protests.

The Democratic Indicator went on to claim that Egyptians employed 62 innovative methods to express their dissent, peaceful at times and violent at others.

These ranged from strikes (1,013), sit-ins (811), marches (503), human chains (80) and horn-blowing campaigns (21), as well as 18 no-bill-payment campaigns. The blocking of roads, meanwhile, accounted for 16 percent of the techniques used to voice discontent with the government.

The report claims that an outpouring of public frustration, coupled with dissatisfaction with the regime's policies among large swathes of the public, has provided fertile ground for violence during planned anti-government protests on 30 June.

It also counselled protest organisers to take the necessary precautions to diminish the likelihood of an outbreak of chaos or flare-up of violence, while practicing self-restraint and maintaining the protests' peaceful nature.

The report went on to urge the president to step down before the planned protests in light of the widespread outrage he faces.

The day is expected to include an open-ended counter-demonstration by the president's Islamist backers, heightening fears of violence.

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