Conflict & Justice

Egypt: Prominent activist detained ahead of strike (UPDATE)


Holding up a sign listing the cost of living, thousands of the Egyptians teachers protest during a strike in front of the Prime Minister's office in downtown Cairo in Sep. 2011. Tomorrow, dozens of groups and universities will begin an open strike against the military-run government.



One of Egypt's leading activists was detained by the army in the seaside city of Alexandria today, fellow activists said. 

Sameh Naguib, a prominent member of the Revolutionary Socialists (RS) group and sociology professor at the American University in Cairo (AUC), was reportedly participating in an anti-government march in Egypt's second-largest city when he was attacked by plainclothes individuals who later turned him over to the army. 

UPDATE: Fellow RS activists say on Twitter he was released from army custody this evening. However, there is no news yet about his condition or why he was detained.

Yesterday, the administrator of the Facebook page of Egypt's ruling generals - the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) - publicly named Naguib as one of the organizers of an open strike against military rule beginning Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012.  

A post on the page hinted both Naguib and AUC were guilty of treason for planning a strike aimed at "dismantling Egypt with Egyptian hands."

The general strike - initiated by the RS but that will include dozens of universities, labor unions, political parties and revolutionary groups - calls for mass civil disobedience to disrupt key roads and services and demand SCAF cede power to a civilian government. 

Egypt's ousted president, Hosni Mubarak, stepped down on Feb. 11, 2011. 

The calls to strike have again exposed the deep divisions in Egypt's post-revolution political landscape. The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which now controls parliament, has come out against the plan, saying it will hurt Egypt's already ailing economy. 

Even the head of the Coptic Church here said civil disobedience is "unacceptable."

But many revolutionary activists see mass presence in the streets as the only way to cow the generals.