Monday’s papers: Anti-government protests escalate, political forces to unify

The headlines of today’s papers reveal the growing gap of the editorial approach between state-owned and independent papers, which was once considerably narrowing after the ouster of the old regime. While government papers focus on the recent decisions of President Mohamed Morsy and his meetings, private papers cover the popular angry stance against the government’s policies and opposition political forces’ attempts to find common ground.   

State-run daily Al-Ahram is back to its old self. The front page runs a picture of Morsy in a meeting with his presidential team on shaping their new tasks, along with a number of articles highlighting his upcoming decrees and one-on-one talks with Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr. Remarkably, the paper has recently been approaching the same biased editorial policies it used to adopt during the reign of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, bending over backwards to solely voice the government’s views.

Freedom and Justice paper, the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, reports that Mohamed Omar Heiba has been appointed as head of the Administrative Control Authority to succeed Mohamed al-Tohamy, who is being accused of deliberately concealing evidence, including important reports, that show the corruption of old regime officials. The paper adds that the presidential spokesperson also announced that Morsy has appointed Badawy Hamouda as Heiba’s deputy. 

Independent daily Youm7 states that Ismail al-Weshahy, an FJP lawyer, filed a complaint to the Interior Ministry alleging that El Sawy Culture Wheel is hosting Satanists. The paper quotes the FJP lawyer as saying that the gatherings of young people wearing black T-shirts printed with Satanic images and performing Satanic rituals have roused the suspicion of some of his clients, who were covering an event there last Friday. Mohamed Abdel Moneim, the founder of the cultural center, denied the accusation, telling the paper it was merely a metal music concert that did not cross any ethical lines, and stressing that there are no Satanists in Egypt in the first place.  

“A day of protests and storming ministries,” reads a headline on the front page of the recently established Al-Watan daily. The paper reports that dozens of railway workers broke into the Transportation Ministry Sunday and began an open-ended sit-in inside the building, saying it would last until their demands are met. Railway workers have announced their own demonstration in a last-ditch attempt after failing to meet Transportation Minister Rashad al-Matiny to submit their demands, which include permanent contracts.

In Helwan, Public Transport Authority workers have reportedly also declared an open-ended sit-in in solidarity with their colleagues in Port Said. It adds that the Public Transport Workers Independent Syndicate met to discuss the escalation mechanisms for their sit-ins across the country before the beginning of the new academic year. Finally, the report says dozens of thanaweya amma students joined the wave of demonstrations witnessed Sunday by storming the education minister’s office. Thanaweya amma are the years of high school that determine which universities students may apply to. However, they were kicked out by the ministry’s security guards. The paper does not mention the demands of either the public transportation workers or the students.

Privately owned Al-Dostour daily continues to express its fierce opposition to the Brotherhood’s policies, opting for a more motivating tone this issue in its emboldened headlines. The top headline reads, “Politicians: The front would overthrow the group … if they reach an agreement.”

On its second page, the paper features a report on the recent intensified efforts of liberal parties, leftists and other political groups to form a front for confronting what it calls the “Brotherhoodization” of the state. It is reported that a number of politicians and activists had met to agree on how to confront the Brotherhood’s tight grip and draw up a petition opposing the Brotherhood’s monopolization of the state’s institutions.  

Egypt’s papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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