Trade unions call for Tuesday protest

Several trade unions have called for a protest in front of the Engineers Syndicate in downtown Cairo on Tuesday to demand the abolition of the justice minister’s decree granting military police and intelligence officers the right to arrest civilians.  The unions have threatened to resort to the judiciary to abolish the decree.

Unions and syndicates representing doctors, pharmacists, teachers, agricultural professionals, engineers, scientists, physiotherapists, veterinarians and dentists have so far joined the protest.

Unions participating in the protest issued a statement Monday calling for the Supreme Council of the Armed Force’s handover of power on 30 June, as scheduled.

In the statement they also rejected the SCAF’s complementary constitutional declaration issued on Sunday, and called on the Constituent Assembly elected by the recently dissolved Parliament to complete its work in drafting the country’s first constitution after Mubarak.

Trade unions have demanded an urgent meeting with the SCAF to discuss these demands.

Dr. Ahmed Aqeel, assistant secretary general of the Pharmacists Syndicate, said that the syndicate rejects the complementary constitutional declaration. The SCAF has overstepped its limits and is delaying the handover of power, he claimed.

With the recent constitutional amendments, the SCAF has given itself legislative and financial powers, in addition to many executive responsibilities. The SCAF now has the sole right to manage all the affairs of country, rendering the presidency a mere honorary position, according to Aqeel.

He added that the SCAF’s formation of a third Constituent Assembly, in lieu of the second Constituent Assembly elected by the members of Parliament, represents a military coup destroying the legitimacy of democratically held elections over the past year and a half.

Aqeel noted that granting military police and intelligence officers the power to arrest civilians takes Egypt back to the previous regime, and the Emergency Law which the revolution had fought to get rid of. He stated that that this decree will lead to a confrontation between the people and the army.

Edited translation from MENA

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