ElBaradei: The regime fears cities with workers

Mohamed ElBaradei, former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency and potential candidate in the 2011 presidential election, expressed yesterday readiness to visit the Delta city Mahalla as part of a tour to mobilize support for political reform.

During a meeting yesterday with a small group of activists from Mahalla, Suez, Tanta and Shebin el-Kom, ElBaradei called on political parties to boycott upcoming elections.

The activists urged ElBaradei to visit Mahalla and Suez, which, they said, President Hosni Mubarak doesn’t visit because of the anger of the workers there. ElBaradei said he will visit those places, adding that the regime tends to fear cities with large numbers of workers.

Those attending the meeting discussed a project titled "Together for Independent Trade Unions." The project was prepared by a number of campaigners from the leftist Tagammu Party, as well as other activists.

The meeting discussed issues such as the minimum wage, and ways of improving the status of workers and the services they receive.

In related news, a number of younger members of the Independent Campaign to Support ElBaradei for the Presidency have resigned their membership in the campaign, saying that Abdel Rahman Youssef, the campaign’s rapporteur, has been monopolizing the management of the campaign.

One of the members said, "Abdel Rahman Youssef created a barrier between ElBaradei and the youth…he now speaks in the name of ElBaradei and the youth."

Abdel Halim Qandil, general coordinator for the pro-democracy coalition Kefaya, said he didn’t meet with ElBaradei at the beginning of this month because he was sent a personal invitation to meet with him whereas it had originally been intended for ElBaradei to meet with a full delegation from Kefaya.

Qandil said there are still opportunities for dialogue between Kefaya and ElBaradei’s pro-reform coalition the National Association for Change.

Meanwhile, security forces in Daqahliya arrested on Monday Ashraf Tharwat, coordinator for ElBaradei’s association in Kuwait, following his deportation from that country.

Security sources said Tharwat was arrested because he hadn’t served a three-year prison sentence for issuing a bad check, and that it had nothing to do with his deportation from Kuwait or support for ElBaradei.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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