Revolutionary groups staged a protest march in downtown Cairo on Wednesday in which they called on Egypt’s leaders to reject loan proposals from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, which, they asserted, would lead to the impoverishment of the Egyptian people.
Groups participating in Wednesday’s demonstration included the Revolutionary Socialists, the Kefaya protest movement, the Mina Daniel Movement, the Egyptian People’s Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party.
The march, which involved dozens of activists, kicked off at downtown Cairo’s Borsa café, from which protesters later walked to the nearby Cabinet building, where IMF chief Christine Lagarde was holding meetings with members of Egypt’s government.
Rather than taking loans from multilateral institutions, protesters called on the Egyptian government to retrieve state money pilfered by the ousted regime of former president Hosni Mubarak and to modify Egypt’s investment law so as to attract greater foreign and local investment.
“No to international loans over the rights of the poor,” activists chanted. “Your money impoverishes us.” Others held banners aloft reading, “We’ll never pay Mubarak’s or [President Mohamed] Morsi’s debts.”
On Wednesday, Lagarde – currently in Cairo to discuss loan proposals – met with members of Egypt’s Cabinet to discuss the possibility of a larger-than-expected $4.8 billion loan from the Washington-based body.
Since Mubarak’s ouster early last year, Egyptian activists have campaigned under the slogan “Drop Egypt’s Debts” in an effort to raise public awareness about the potentially negative economic consequences of taking loans from the IMF.