Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2016, 11:51 GMT

Brutal assault on Egyptian civilians in Mahalla northern Egypt

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 9 April 2008
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Brutal assault on Egyptian civilians in Mahalla northern Egypt, 9 April 2008, available at: [accessed 24 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


On April 7th and 8th local reaction to the government's violent crackdown on a peaceful strike on April 6th has grown and intensified as residents express their anger over the brutal actions taken by Egyptian authorities that culminated in the death of fifteen year old Ahmed Mohamed Hammad. Yesterday thousands of people have taken to the streets destroying public property including pictures of Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak which are displayed in Mahalla's main square. Police forces continue using force to break up the crowd and images of injured civilians and the aggressive police attacks on the demonstration flood local media.

The Egyptian parliament has submitted a request to summon Ministry or Interior Habib Adly to an emergency session in which he can be questioned about what they described as a "massacre" undertaken by security forces in Mahalla to end the protest

Thousands of civilians congregated in Mahalla, the largest city in Egypt's – Western province, on April 6th to carry out a general strike initiated by factory workers in the state-owned Mahalla Textile Company protesting nationwide inflation and asking for a pay rise to compensate. Egyptian authorities forcefully dispersed the peaceful congregation using tear gas -and rubber bullets leading to intense clashes between civilians and authorities, serious injuries and reportedly 2 deaths, yet to be confirmed

The ministry of interior had issued a statement on April 6th asking all citizens to refrain from participating in the strike that was instigated by thugs. The statement added that the police had to use tear gas to protect the rest of the citizens in the area.

Hundreds of civilians have been arrested, including minors, and transferred to neighboring province Tanta for interrogations including charges of "resisting authorities" and injuring police personnel

FIDH and HMLC recall that the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights provides to which Egypt is a party provides in its article 7 the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work which ensure, in particular.... A decent living for themselves and their families

We also recall that the Covenant provides in its article 8 that the State must ensure the right to strike, provided it is exercised in conformity with the Egyptian law

FIDH and HMLC call upon the Egyptian Authorities to:

  • cease immediately all assaults on civilians and residents in Mahalla
  • release all those who have arrested while they demonstrating peacefully and who were not involved in any criminal offense
  • ensure that those already in detention are allowed to meet with lawyers and that charges against them are clearly made explicit
  • open an investigation on the repression which occurred in Mahalla
  • meet with representatives of the Mahalla Textile Company and enter into genuine negotiations on increase in the salaries,
  • Answer the questions of the Peoples' Assembly about the developments in Mahalla and the harsh repression of peaceful demonstrations of civilian populations

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