News Update: November 10, 2011

Freedom%20and%20Justice%20Party%20Rally.jpg

Freedom and Justice Party rally

Islamist groups including al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya threatened to bus in supporters from across the country to Tahrir Square for an open-ended sit-in starting Friday, November 18, to protest the draft constitutional principles issued by Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Selmy last week. Meanwhile, Egyptian expatriates began the online voter registration process on November 9 through the High Election Judicial Commission website. Egypt’s economy remains under heavy strain, with the unemployment rate rising to 11.9 percent for the third quarter of 2011 compared to 8.9 percent during the same quarter in 2010. 

PROTESTS:

Islamist groups including al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya threatened to bus in supporters from across the country to Tahrir Square for an open-ended sit-in starting Friday, November 18, to protest the draft constitutional principles issued by Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Selmy last week. The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi Nour Party are also backing the demonstration, however the the NAC, Tagammu and the Wafd have declined to participate. [Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 11/10/2011] 

Student activists marched from Alexandria’s Saad Zaghloul Square to Mansheya to demand the release of the blogger Alaa Abel Fattah, who has been detained on charges of inciting sectarian violence outside of Maspero on October 9. [Al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 11/10/2011]

ELECTIONS:

The Higher Electoral Commission (HEC) has extended the registration deadline for civil society organizations seeking to “follow” elections until November 19. Election observers will not be permitted, but civil society groups will be allowed to “follow” the polling process. [Al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 11/9/2011] 

Egyptian expatriates began the online voter registration process on November 9 through the High Election Judicial Commission website, which will also be used to create a database of eligible voters abroad. [Al-Masry al-Youm, English, 11/10/2011] 

Presidential candidate Mohammed ElBaradei denied accusations by senior Israeli officials alleging that he served as an “Iranian agent” and turned a blind eye to the country’s nuclear aspirations during his tenure at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). [YNet, English, 11/9/2011] [Al-Youm al-Saba’a, Arabic, 11/9/2011] 

The Salafist Nour Party distributed two tons of meat in the governorate of Qena over the course of the four-day Eid El-Adha holiday and also distributed over 1000 free gifts to children in impoverished Upper Egyptian governorates. The Salafi Nour party, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the moderate Islamist Adl Party also distributed free meat and toys along with campaign propaganda during the holiday. Liberal political figures including Amr Hamzawy, running as an independent in Cairo’s Heliopolis district, accused the Islamists of exploiting religious celebrations for political gain. [Al-Ahram, English, 11/10/2011]

SECTARIANISM:

Security personnel were able to defuse an escalating sectarian conflict in the Sohag village of Kom Ghraib after a local Coptic pastor elected a dome and bells on the tallest building adjacent to the church. The local security directorate received complaints from Muslim residents who argued that the improvised dome violated a permit that prohibits construction above the fourth floor level. [Al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 11/10/2011]

ECONOMY:

Egypt’s annual inflation dropped to 7.5 per cent in the 12 months to October, a significant decline from September’s level of 8.5 per cent. Urban consumer price inflation also declined to 7.1 per cent, down from 8.5 per cent in September. [Al-Ahram, English, 11/10/2011] 

Egypt’s unemployment rate during the third quarter of 2011 climbed to 11.9 percent compared to 8.9 percent during the same quarter in 2010, according to Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistic. [Al-Youm al-Saba’a, Arabic, 11/10/2011] 

Photo Credit: Al-Masry al-Youm