Using an emergency law that allows arrest without charge and restricts the ability to organize, the Egyptian government and the ruling National Democratic Party have for decades blocked development of an effective opposition while monopolizing the levers of power. The open question — one that analysts say the government fears — is whether the workers will connect their economic woes with virtual one-party rule and organize into a political force.According to this report on Egypt's labor movement, "7 million workers engaged in 1,900 strikes and other forms of protest” from 2004 through 2008. That, some say, is the largest social movement in Egypt in more than 50 years. Like Thai officials, Egyptian officials have been relatively tolerant of the street protests thus far. If and when they become politicized, look for stronger action from the government.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Egyptian Labor Protests
According to this report, Egyptian workers have been protesting low wages and the absence of jobs since February. The government has generally been more tolerant of labor protests than political demonstrations. There is apparently some concern on the part of officials that the labor action will be transformed into a political movement. From the story: