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The Independent Union of Egyptian Teachers complained Sunday of harassment by security forces on the second day of a nationwide teachers strike.
Egyptian teachers kicked off their strike on Saturday, demanding better pay and the removal of Education Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin Moussa. The strikes reached their peak on Sunday, the first day of the new school year.
The independent union's chief, Hassan Ahmed Ali, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that senior ministry officials toured the striking schools and tried to dissuade their teachers from protesting.
The ministry also sent a number of its security agents to intimidate the teachers, Ali added, and instructed principals to impose arbitrary penalties on them.
Ali threatened that teachers will organize a massive demonstration next Saturday in front of the cabinet to protest the security forces' behavior.
"We have agreed to give the government until Thursday to fulfill our demands, and the protest will be staged on Saturday should [the government] fail to act," he said.
The independent union and the Education Ministry have given contradictory estimates of the numbers of strikes thus far.
MENA, the state-run news agency, quoted Moussa as saying that only 140 schools (0.6 percent of schools nationwide) have witnessed strikes.
Ali, however, said school participation in the protests reached 100 percent in some governorates, including Port Said, with other provinces recording 90 percent participation. He accused the state-run media of misleading the public and purposely conducting interviews at non-striking schools.
Translated from the Arabic Edition