Army forces based in Ataqa, Suez governorate prevented striking Suez Steel workers from blocking a highway after the arrest of two of their leaders on Monday.
Police forces had arrested two of the workers’ leaders, Raouf Abdel Khalik and Omar Youssef, after a complaint filed by Rafik El Daw, the company’s managing director, who accused them of inciting workers to strike.
Workers decided to block the Suez-Ain Sokhna road to protest the arrest, but they were prevented by army forces based in Ataqa’s industrial area.
Michael Safwat, a Revolutionary Socialists movement member in Suez, said the workers did not attempt to block the road, and that army forces tried to disperse their sit-in by force, causing three injuries. He added that the workers filed complaints against army’s forces.
Mo’men Ahmed, an activist in Suez, said nine armoured cars sieged the sit-in, violently assaulting striking workers and arresting two of them.
Suez journalist Hassan Ghonema denied claims of the army dispersing the sit-in, stating that it was not dispersed, but only sieged by army forces.
The Arab Network for Human Rights Information condemned “the continuation of usage of violence from security forces against peaceful protests.”
Kamal Abu Eita, the Minister of Manpower and Immigration, told Reuters’ Aswat Masriya that he is working to reach an agreement between workers and the company’s board, including compliance to some of the workers’ demands, release of the arrested workers and the re-opening the factory.
The workers’ strike, which is entering its twentieth day, demands a percentage of revenues and increased wages.