Monday, 15 June 2015

Egypt: The return of Black Bloc

After a long period of apparent inactivity Egypt's Black Bloc anarchist group have exploded back onto the scene with a series of arson attacks and street actions against police, corporate and regime targets. 

Black Bloc Egypt first emerged in January 2013 with a wave of firebombings and street fights against the police and SCAF (Egyptian army) during the struggle against the Islamist regime of Mohamed Morsi. A vicious crackdown against the group began in February 2013 that resulted in many arrests / detentions and all Black Bloc related social media pages in Egypt were shut down and removed. This pattern of arrests and detentions continued under the new regime of General Al-Sisi as part of a crackdown against the wider left movement in Egypt.  It was presumed by most that Black Bloc Egypt had been crushed with all of it's members either killed or detained by the regime or gone into hiding.

This theory was proven wrong in May 2015 when a new Black Bloc Egypt Facebook page appeared. It wasn't long until the group began posting photographic claims of responsibility for direct actions beginning with a claim for an action on May 23 in which several surveillance cameras were disabled and removed from service. On May 29 another 4 actions were claimed - arson attacks against two different Vodafone stores in Cairo (see here and here), a burning barricade outside a courthouse in Cairo and molotovs and clashes against the security forces also in Cairo.

In early June the Al-Sisi regime announced that they had  arrested the 'leader' of the Black Bloc, 
Mohamed Al-Masri. Mohamed had been sentenced in absentia on February 4, 2015 to 25 years imprisonment for his supposed involvement in the first wave of Black Bloc actions however the case against him is highly suspect and bears all the hallmarks of a frame-up by the regime.

Despite the arrest of their supposed 'leader', Black Bloc attacks have continued in June, the most recent actions have been a fire on the tracks that stopped the Upper Egypt to Cairo train on June 14 and an arson attack against a government building in Cairo on June 16 in protest at the torture of detainees.

Solidarity with the Black Bloc comrades in Egypt and their brave struggle against the military regime!

Down with SCAF and the Al-Sisi regime, long live Black Bloc!