Revolutionary victimised by Egyptian military

The Egyptian military is moving to deepen its crackdown on opposition, hoping to wipe out the revolution that has swept the country since February 2011.

Well-known labour lawyer and Revolutionary Socialist Haitham Mohamedain was arrested in early September on his way to meet workers in Suez who had asked for his help.

Although he was released shortly afterwards, he may still face serious charges including terrorism against the government and leading a “secret organisation” that aims to overthrow the state. His release was a result of solidarity and pressure both inside Egypt and across the world. His arrest received so much publicity that the first question he was asked in his formal interrogation was “Who is Haitham Mohamedain? Everyone is talking about you.”

There were protests against his arrest in Cairo, Alexandria, Feyoum, Port Said and Suez. Wassim Wagdy told Britain’s Socialist Worker “Many industrial workers came on the protests”, and added, “many different workers have been publishing statements of solidarity with Haitham.”

The army has killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters since it effectively took power in July. It wants to end the wave of protests that begun with Mubarak’s toppling in 2011 and close down the space for political organisation this has created. It has shot dead two people for breaking a curfew imposed after 9pm every night. Previous curfew attempts since 2011 have been defied but now few dare to do so. The military is trying to widen its crackdown against the workers’ movement and other political groups. During a strike of 2100 workers at the Suez Steel Company, three strike leaders were arrested and 15 others suspended from work. The workers agreed to end the strike in return for their release and reinstatement. It also drove armoured cars into the Misr textile factory in an effort to intimidate 20,000 striking workers there and end a sit-in.

The Revolutionary Socialists have been one of the few groups that joined the June 30 protests against Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi to oppose the subsequent military crackdown on the Brotherhood. Many other sections of the revolutionary movement have supported the military. The danger of a wider military crackdown against the workers’ movement and the left is growing. We need to be prepared to offer our solidarity if Haitham is called back to court or others face charges in the coming weeks.


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