Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Egypt in the first week of December, with further mass protests against President Mohamed Mursi’s cold coup, which includes plans for a new constitution that would give him exceptional powers.
The protests forced Mursi to backtrack on some emergency powers. He is pressing ahead with the referendum on the constitution.
On Friday 7 December, tens of thousands rallied in the square in front of the presidential place in Heliopolis. They broke through barbed wire, with some police apparently letting them through. Protesters had been expelled from the area by Muslim Brotherhood thugs on Wednesday 5 December.
Ahram Online reported that a member of the Revolutionary Socialists was killed. “We are mourning the death of Taha Magdy, who was killed by Brotherhood thugs,” the Revolutionary Socialists said on their Facebook page. There have since been reports that Taha is still alive.
On Friday 7th also, thousands of protesters in the industrial city of Mahalla al-Kubra were reported to have announced the city “independent”, and planned a “revolutionary council”. “We no longer belong to the Ikhwani [Brotherhood] state”. Protesters blocked entrances and exits to the city.
Ahram Online said the political forces involved in the Mahalla rebellion include the Free Egyptians Party, Constitution Party, Strong Egypt Party, Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Popular Current and socialist activists.
Also on Friday, protestors set fire to three Muslim Brotherhood or Freedom and Justice Party offices in Cairo. There were demonstrations in several other cities including Alexandria, where crowds chanted, “The people want the execution of the president”.
The protests started after Mursi seized wide-ranging powers and immunity from the courts, and then announced a 15 December referendum on a hastily drafted constitution.
In this report in the Egypt Independent, the meeting that led to the Mahalla declaration of independence is given a fuller description. Being Mahalla, it is significantly a trade union initiative with Kamal Abbas and Sayed Habib making speeches for it.
The article doesn't tell us whether any ongoing structures of working class self-government were established and the declaration seems primarily symbolic although symbolic gestures is not usually the method of the free Egyptian trade unions. Egyptian Rev Socs have not spoken on the event since the first day as far as I can tell. Not sure why, do they support it?