17 September, 2009

QIZ workers take to the street in Mahalla

Via Mohammed Maree and Hossam el-Hamalawy: A video showing textile workers from the Abou Sebae factory in the QIZ (Qualified Industrial Zone) in Mahalla demonstrating in front of factory owner Ismail Abul Sebae’s house demanding their delayed salaries. The clip shows workers chanting "left, right, we're coming to you Ismail" and "There is no God but God, Ismail is the enemy of God."

According to Mahalla blogger Mohammed Maree 3500 workers took part in the protest. They tried to take to the streets yesterday but were stoped by central security forces and state security officers who promised they would get their salaries in the afternoon. Instead, they entered the factory again only to find a notice that they were obliged to take 15 days unpaid vacation. Today they organized a demonstration that stopped for half an hour outside the factory owners house before continuing to the City Council, paralyzing traffic on the main street al-Bahr until security forces intervened to stop the protest.

Mohammed Maree also reports that a police officer tried to take his camera while he was covering the protest, and threatened to issue another arrest order against him (Mohammed was arrested after the demonstrations in Mahalla on 6 and 7 April 2008, and detained for three months).  

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