At least 336 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), political parties, and public figures expressed solidarity with the movements of syndicates and struggle of workers in defence of people’s rights, in a statement issued Tuesday published by the Revolutionary Socialists group.
The statement addressed the ongoing harassment of Press Syndicate leaders Yehia Qalash, Gamal Abdul Reheem, and Khaled El-Balshy, in addition to a distortion campaign led against the secretary general of the Doctors Syndicate and the detention of Public Transportation Authority (PTA) workers.
“Tyrants and corrupted people are delusional to think that the imprisonment of the Press Syndicate members will scare the rest of Egyptians and force them to abstain from speaking up for their rights, or that journalists’ quest for press freedom will stop,” the statement read.
This comes as the syndicate called on journalists to assemble Wednesday to discuss the repercussions of a Saturday court verdict sentencing its leaders to two years in jail, amid an unprecedented crackdown on the syndicate.
In the meantime, Doctors Syndicate leader Mona Mina is also under fire, after statements she made on TV were distorted—although the video is available online—in a manner that might be aiming to bring up a legal case against her on grounds of spreading incorrect information regarding the state’s healthcare system.
Mina was the face of a mass doctors’ movement in February against police brutality. She has also defended doctors’ rights to infection allowances and the right of people to free health services.
The Doctors Syndicate defended Mina and said that her statement was taken out of context. While discussing shortage in medical supplies, Mina actually said she received a complaint from a doctor in a hospital that he was verbally ordered by the hospital to use the same syringes more than once on several patients.
After the distortion of her statement, Mina was accused of falsely claiming that the Health Ministry gave such orders to hospitals, turning into someone who threatens national security, according to the ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed’s statements to local media.
Last but not least, the solidarity statement condemned the detention of six PTA employees in late September on charges of inciting colleagues to strike.
“[That is] because they opposed plans to privatise the authority in defence of people’s right to decent transportation at reasonable prices, and their demands for their own and colleagues’ financial rights amid the economic crisis,” the statement said.
“We who signed this statement believe that millions of Egyptians are prevented from their rights, and offer our gratitude to those who struggle and the syndicates that support them, hoping that a more comprehensive syndical movement would take place in the face of oppression,” the statement concluded.