In Egypt, thousands of workers and activists poured into Cairo’s Tahrir Square Sunday for the country’s first independent celebration of International Workers’ Day since 1952. People in the square celebrated the formation of labor unions independent of state control and the newly created Egyptian Federation for Independent Unions. A group of labor leaders and activists also announced the formation of a new political party called the Democratic Labor Party. Party member and journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy laid out some of its main demands.
Hossam el-Hamalawy, journalist and activist: “The main demand is definitely the re-nationalization of all the privatized factories, a complete halt to the neoliberal program. The complete freedom must be given to the Egyptian working class to establish its independent unions. I mean, the workers in some sectors are still facing the old managers, who are trying to sabotage their attempts to establish independent unions and the national minimum wage. We have fought so long to raise our national minimum wage to at least 1,200 Egyptian pounds a month. I would like to see those demands achieved as soon as possible.”