Planned Egypt strike to coincide with Mubarak birthday

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The Egyptian opposition is gearing up for a 5 May general strike to coincide with President Hosni Mubarak’s 80th birthday, according to opposition groups.

Opposition groups have so far attracted up to 250,000 participants, almost triple the number for those who participated in the failed 6 April strike in the country.

The strike is being called in response to what the opposition perceives as government’s inaction towards rising costs of living and low wages.

“Our goal is to show Mubarak that we are not ready to stop until things change in this country,” Heba Said, a Kefaya (Enough) activist, said on Monday, citing hundreds of other activists who are willing to move forward on these campaigns.

“people are ready to march in the streets against the way the government is treating us. People can’t afford to live any longer so why shouldn’t they go to the street,” Said asked.

The World Bank has reported that Egyptian costs of living have increased by as much as 50 percent since the beginning of the year.

Many people are disillusioned over the price hikes and lack of an equal salary increase.

Similar to the calls for the April strike, the organisers of the 5 May action are calling on Egyptian citizens to wear black as a sign of mourning for what they have termed the death of “freedom and democracy in Egypt.”

The nation’s largest and most popular opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, has yet to throw its support for the strike, but that has not stopped some 700 younger members from joining the planners.

The Islamic organisation also did not join calls for the 6 April strike, although it said members who joined would not be punished.

Kefaya, a leading opposition movement in the country, has repeatedly said it will determine its participation after other organisations in the country decide how they will act, most notably the Brotherhood.

The ministry of interior has warned against such action, saying security forces “will do everything we can in order to maintain order.”

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