Street campaigns on the rise for both opposition and regime supporters

Collecting signatures for petitions and distributing leaflets have recently become trademarks of street politics in Egypt among both regime supporters and opposition.

Members of the 6 April movement handed out leaflets yesterday to people leaving the mosques in Mansoura following Friday prayers as part of a campaign entitled “Egypt is Ours”.  The statement urged citizens to speak out against oppression and inflation.

The pamphlets also condemned what they described as the failure of the education system, low salaries, the use of violence by the regime to suppress political opposition and the rigging of elections.

Participants were also collecting signatures for the nomination of Mohamed ElBaradei, former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and for his seven demands for change.

Ahmed al-Bernawi, spokesperson for the movement in Mansoura, said the statement is in the form of a dialogue between two Egyptians discussing these particular social issues. Its purpose is to raise people’s awareness of their political and social rights.

Meanwhile, yesterday, security forces released Mohamed Adel Souka and Yasser al-Sayyed who had been detained for two hours for giving out Ramadan calendars bearing the movement’s logo to passers-by in Downtown Cairo.

In a related development, a number of political activists called for a march in Mansheyya Square in Alexandria today at noon to protest against torture, random arrests and the harassment of political activists, particularly in the local area.

This follows accusations two days ago, by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) against security forces in Alexandria of kidnapping the political activist coordinating the campaign for the nomination of Hamdeen Sabbahi, deputy head of the Karama Party, and detaining him at an unknown location.

Supporters of the regime and its potential presidential candidate Gamal Mubarak, son of the current president, have also resorted to street politics to advertise their cause. 

Marwa Haddad, director of the campaign launched earlier this month, entitled “Gamal Mubarak, Egypt is Looking to a New Beginning”, said the number of people who have physically signed the statement nominating Mubarak junior for the presidency has reached 6000.  Added to the 22,000 e-signatures which have also been collected, this brings the total number to over 28,000.

Haddad added that the campaign to collect nominations will hit the streets of Cairo this Monday, beginning with the populous districts of Gammaliya and Mansheyyet Nasser.

Meanwhile, in Sharqiya, the Popular Coalition for the Support of Gamal Mubarak yesterday held a conference in the village of Shabra Soura following Friday prayers. The conference sought to raise awareness of the campaign’s objectives and gather signatures for the coalition’s seven demands.

Ahmed al-Menshawi, general coordinator for the campaign in Sharqiya, said Gamal’s supporters will be required to show their national identity cards and to sign the petition in public.  He added that two new branches for the coalition have opened in Sharqiya , raising the total number of branches in this area alone to four.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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