About 1,736 protests related to social and economic issues took place during 2016, in which protests by labour movements were most frequent and continued throughout the year, according to a report by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) released on Saturday.
The report documented all social and economic protests that took place from January to 20 December this year, but did not include those related to political matters.
The ECESR said that the total number of protests in 2016 was similar to the number of protests that took place in 2015, which amounted to about 1,955 protests. The slight decline could be due to the enforcement of the Protest Law, which limited the number of protests that could take place due to its constraints.
The ECESR clarified that the report was conducted based on media reports and its archival reports that are collected throughout the year.
In this year’s protests, people called for labour rights, the rights of knowledge, transparency, work, compensation, education, infrastructure, services, and quality of life, and called for anti-corruption, administrative justice, and quality of life, the report stated.
Protesters were characterised based on their occupation. The ECESR report stated that those involved in protests this year included 359 workers, 167 employees, 160 students, 132 drivers, 75 teachers, 67 doctors, 71 nurses, and 41 shopkeepers. Those who are unemployed or recently graduated made up 62.
Labour protests were the most frequent type of demonstration, followed by social protests, then economic protests. The report stated that total number of labour protests registered 726 protests, reaching a peak in February with about 108 protests.
Several labour groups working in governmental institutions held rallies throughout the year, and the majority faced the likelihood of being arrested and held in renewed detention. The demands of the workers largely focused on late payments or not receiving annual bonuses. These groups included workers in the Public Transportation Authority and Alexandria Shipyard Company, in addition to other companies and factories.
The government sector witnessed 478 protests, whereas the private sector witnessed less than 200 protests, the report said.
Protests related to social matters came in second place, as 633 protests were arranged by various social groups over several issues unrelated to economic concerns.
In September, protests on social matters reached their peak with 86 protests. These social groups included people from certain residential areas, students, and union members, as well individuals who posses masters and PhD degrees, nurses, and secondary school students.
In third place came protests related to economic matters, which counted 377 protests during 2016, of which 59 occurred in May.
The last month of the year saw a very low turnout of protests, as only nine social protests and 25 labour protests were arranged, as economic protests did not occur.
Over the last three months, Egypt faced a series of price hikes due to recent decisions made by the government in order to implement the terms of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, for which Egypt sought to complete its economic reform programme. Prices of most products, including essential goods, increased in a very short period, which heavily impacted low-income citizens.