Tag Archives: Cairo

Egypt News | LGBT

Egypt expands crackdown on LGBT community
  • Dozens of LGBT Egyptians have been arrested , including raids on cafés and detentions following a concert by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila (fronted by a gay man).
  • As citizens continue to be subjected to invasive medical examinations and entrapment via social media and mobile apps, Egypt’s media regulatory body issued a statement condemning homosexuality as a “sickness” and barring the presence or representation of gay people in the media.
  • In addition to political and law enforcement assaults, LGBT Egyptians have recently been the targets of cultural campaigns by the media and conservative religious and academic leaders.
Read

Brutal crackdown has gay and transgender Egyptians asking: Is it time to leave?” (The Los Angeles Times | October 2017)

Egypt’s latest crackdown on gays creates fear in LGBT community” (USA Today | October 2017)

Unofficial Translation of Statement by Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation” (Human Rights Watch | October 2017)

Egypt News | Christians

IS claims responsibility on Cairo church bombing that left dozens dead
  • The attack on St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral killed at least 25 people and injured nearly 50, most of them women, in Egypt’s deadliest mass killing driven by sectarian conflict since 2011.
  • The cathedral was the seat of the Egyptian Orthodox Church and a prominent symbol for Egyptian Copts, who comprise around 10% of the country’s population and who have been subject to systemic discrimination.
  • Following the attack, the Islamic State threatened to escalate its “war on polytheism,” leading members of the Christian community and government officials to suspect more large-scale attacks are on the way.

Read more:
ISIS Claims Responsibility for Egypt Church Bombing and Warns of More to Come” (The New York Times)
Blast at Egyptian Coptic cathedral kills at least 25” (The Washington Post)
23 killed in explosion inside church attached to Cairo’s Coptic cathedral” (Al-Ahram)

(Image Credit: Khaled Desouki/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images, via The New York Times)

May Day || Global

Global May Day 2016

One of the few truly global holidays, International Workers’ Day (May Day) is both a worldwide celebration of the working classes as well as a day to draw attention to ongoing insecurities workers around the world face. May Day has historically had a twofold purpose: a day for workers to voice their concerns over contentious labor policies and for governments to reaffirm their commitments to workers’ rights and just labor practices. At times little more than public relations campaigns and at others violent clashes between governments and workers, global May Day events have highlighted the diverse relationships between labor, employers, and government around the world. Here are the highlights of May Day 2016 in more than 30 countries:


Asia Pacific

Bike rallies were held in Pune as Indian PM Narendra Modi saluted workers on Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, a public holiday. Pakistan‘s major labor unions convened in Lahore to speak out against poor working conditions, violations of international labor conventions, and ongoing privatization in the country. As Bangladeshi officials addressed labor relations and welfare reforms amidst a day of union-organized programming, in Kathmandu, Nepali workers marched while awaiting the ratification of the Labour Act, which guarantees greater social security for workers. Across the Indian Ocean, Australian union leader singled out penalty rate protection and tax reform as major Labour Day issues, with the date of the holiday having been a point of contention as well.

Throughout East Asia, workers rallied to draw attention to labor conditions and call for reforms, from ending contractualization in the Philippines to protecting job security in South KoreaHong Kong saw thousands take to the streets to demand fair and standardized working hours along with a universal pension program. In Malaysia, PM Najib Razak took the day to announce an increase in the national minimum wage and an insurance scheme proposal.

Europe & Eurasia

In cities across France, tens of thousands marched in protest against proposed labor reforms that would loosen the country’s controversial employment and job security policies. Jeremy Corbyn became the first U.K. Labour party  leader to attend a May Day rally in a half-century when he spoke to a crowd of thousands in London, reaffirming solidarity against anti-immigrant sentiment and addressing anti-Semitism accusations that have plagued his party recently. Spain saw thousands across its cities gather, many protesting ongoing austerity measures. An estimated 800,000 gathered in Rome‘s San Giovanni Square, with this year’s event dedicated to slain Italian student Giulio Regeni.

Some 2,000 convened in rain-soaked Zagreb to hear labor leaders protest the increased retirement age and ongoing poverty in Croatia. Moscow hosted a mass demonstration in the city’s Red Square estimated in size from the tens of thousands to 100,000, while thousands gathered in Istanbul’s Bakirköy district under a heavy police presence in the wake of urban suicide attacks and ongoing violence across Turkey.

The Americas

From New York to Los Angeles, demonstrations in the U.S. highlighted widening economic inequality in the country and an election season marred by racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic sentiment. While most protests took place without incident, a peaceful march turned violent in Seattle, leading to five injured officers and nine arrests. A similar outbreak in Montreal led to one injury and 10 arrests.

In Latin America, Brazil‘s embattled president and Workers’ Party leader Dilma Roussef rallied alongside hundreds of thousands across the country as her impeachment proceedings continue and workers fear the inauguration of her center-right vice president. Cuba‘s May Day parade continued the national tradition of expressing support for the Castro regime rather than directly celebrating labor or expressing concerns over labor conditions. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macro backed employers and touted labor proposals that had spurred mass demonstrations only days before. Elsewhere in the region, minimum wage increases were announced in Venezuela and Bolivia and a march took place in Santiago as Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced a review of her labor reforms after the Supreme Court rejected a key provision granting exclusive negotiating rights to unions.

Middle East & Africa

Police in Egypt blocked hundreds of workers from assembling in a Cairo office as labor leaders and international organizations called for the government to decriminalize independent union organization. In Israel, more than 5,000 youth marched in Tel Aviv, while a Palestinian trade union renewed its call for the establishment of a minimum wage and the dismantlement of the Gaza blockade. A government-sponsored event in Dubai reportedly drew nearly 200 workers, though labor practices in the UAE continue to draw international scrutiny.

South of the Sahara, events popped up across South Africa as politicians sought to address the country’s high unemployment rate and appeal to workers ahead of August elections. In Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari spoke to thousands of workers in Abuja, touting his anti-corruption campaign. A Mozambique labor leader addressed a crowd in Maputo about the debts of state-owned companies and the need for wage and workplace reform. As the decline of oil prices has created economic hardship throughout Angola, the country’s two labor unions marched to draw attention to deteriorating worker conditions and the need for infrastructure maintenance. Workers in Ghana protested the privatization of the management of the state-owned Electric Company of Ghana, while the government insisted the company was still run by the state. Meanwhile, Ethiopia sidestepped Sunday commemorations altogether by moving May Day to May 3, when labor leaders plan to highlight ongoing struggles to organize Ethiopian workers.

Egypt News | Foreign Intellectuals

Italian student found dead in Cairo after writing article critical of government
  • Giulio Regeni, a 28-year-old graduate student at the University of Cambridge, was found dead alongside a road outside Cairo with cigarette burns and other signs of torture on his body.
  • Regeni had been conducting research on Egyptian labor rights and had written an article criticizing the Egyptian government’s anti-union stance and lack of press freedom for Il Manifesto, a left-wing newspaper in Rome,.
  • Italy summoned its Egyptian ambassador to discuss the situation, requesting a joint investigation to determine the cause of the student’s murder, which Egyptian authorities have ruled an accident.

Read more:
Italian student Giulio Regeni found dead in Cairo ‘with signs of torture’” (The Guardian)
Italian student Giulio Regeni’s body found in Egypt” (BBC)
Italian student killed in Egypt criticized Cairo govt. in articles” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Twitter photo, via The Guardian)

Egypt News | Jewish Egyptian

The Jewish Quarter brings an uncharacteristically sympathetic portrayal of Jews to Egypt’s blockbuster Ramadan TV season
  • Directed by Mohamed el-Adl, the 30-episode series features an Egyptian Jewish protagonist who falls in love with a Muslim soldier in pre-Nasser midcentury Cairo.
  • The series has stirred controversy online, with some viewing the series as a capitulation to Israeli interests and others praising the respectful–if somewhat inaccurate–historical depiction of everyday life for Egyptian Jews.
  • Cairo’s Jewish population has dwindled drastically from the time in which the series is set to fewer than a dozen today.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

(Image Credit: El-Adl Group, via the New York Times)

Egyptian women convene in “stand” against political detentions and bans on assembly
  • At the same location in Cairo where 23 opposition activists were arrested for protesting last year, dozens of women gathered in demonstration against the detentions.
  • The “stand,” a form of nonviolent protest, took place for an hour outside of the presidential palace despite prohibitions on unsanctioned assembly.
  • While police confronted journalists and attempted to block the protest from view, the women held up images of the detained, with messages calling for their release.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

(Image Credit: Omar Kamel/Twitter photo, via the New York Times)

The U.N.’s safe cities initiative integrates women’s safety into development projects globally
  • The cross-sector “Safe Cities Global Initiative” aims to stem sexual violence and harassment of women in urban spaces through infrastructure and program development.
  • In Delhi, mobile app Safetipin crowdsources safety reviews of public spaces and integrates GPS for personal tracking and security.
  • Projects have sprung up in other cities as well, including Cairo, Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, and Kigali in Rwanda.

“Unsafe public spaces limit women’s and girl’s life choices. This daily reality limits their freedom to participate in education, work, recreation, and in political life.”

More on this story at the Thomson Reuters Foundation.