Mass strikes continue in Egypt


Egypt's ruling military has warned unrest is hampering efforts to improve the economy and return life to normal (AP)

Industrial unrest unleashed by the turmoil in Egypt is continuing despite a warning by the ruling military that protests and strikes are hampering efforts to improve the economy and return life to normal.

Hundreds of Cairo airport staff were protesting inside the arrivals terminal for better wages and health coverage.

In the industrial Nile Delta city of Mahallah al-Koubra, workers from Egypt’s largest textile factory went on strike over pay and calls for an investigation into alleged corruption at the factory.

In Port Said, a coastal city at the northern tip of the Suez canal, about 1,000 people demonstrated to demand that a chemical factory be closed because it was dumping waste in a lake near the city.

Mahallah witnessed the country’s largest protests in decades in April 2008, when demonstrators sought better pay and a check on rising food prices.

The youth movement behind the Mahallah protest then was a key player in the 18 days of anti-Mubarak protests that broke out on January 25 and eventually forced him to step down.

The interim government meanwhile decided to put back by another week the reopening of schools and universities across the country, an indication that the country still has some way to go before it returns to normal. Schools and universities were just starting their mid-year break when the protests broke out.

Banks remained closed and will remain shut on Thursday, the last day of the business week in Egypt. There was no word on whether they would reopen on Sunday, the start of the business week.

The stock market has been closed for the past three weeks and, again, there was no word on when it would resume operating. The market lost nearly 1% of its value in two tumultuous sessions in late January before it was ordered shut to halt the slide.

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