EGYPT: A call for a national strike
It’s been the same question murmured throughout Egypt: “Is it true everybody will go on strike on April 6?” Opposition groups have called for a national sit-down on Sunday in a bold protest against President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
"We ask you to heed this call in order to warn the unjust that we cannot bear this humiliation anymore and that we raise the flag of peaceful resistance until we retrieve our legitimate right to have a dignified life and to get a minimum wage or pension that can help us face the monster of inflation," reads one missive circulating through Egyptian cyberspace.
Similar declarations have been carried by opposition newspapers and spread through mobile phone text messaging. Bread lines and growing inflation –- prices have doubled and tripled in recent months -- have dealt a deep blow to Mubarak's government. The generally passive Egyptian population, which is accustomed to economic hardship and suppression of opposition voices, is growing more vocal.
"Nothing will change in this country if we keep playing the role of onlookers. Nothing will change if only one, 10, a thousand or even a million people protest and say no to injustice. Nothing will change unless the 70 million Egyptians oppose the corrupt and unjust government," reads an Internet message sent by opposition groups.
The planned strike of professionals, laborers and students comes two days ahead of the local elections on April 8, which are expected to be easily won by Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party. The regime prevented hundreds of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the nation’s largest and strongest opposition group, from fielding candidates.
— Noha El-Hennawy in Cairo
Photo: Egyptian laborers walk toward a waiting truck, unseen, on their way out of the Amal Misr Brick Factory's facility at the end of their working week in a Cairo suburb. Credit: Jason Larkin / Associated Press