When Mahalla al-Kubra moves, regimes in Cairo tremble. That’s a frequent recurrence in El Mahalla, the textile district on the Nile Delta, the heart of workers’ struggles and socio-economic conflicts with the central government.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi knows it too. The president-general waited a month after the end of the August strike involving 17,000 workers from 30 industrial establishments to crack down on the independent trade unions.
Eleven trade unionists, including some Mahalla leaders, were arrested. The police appeared in their homes on Sept. 16, three days before the big event organized in Cairo in front of the headquarters of the union of taxpayers (and which, as the controversial Egyptian anti-terrorism law requires, the Ministry of the Interior had authorized).