20 February 2013

Egypt: PM Meets With Port Said MPs to End Crisis

Photo: CAF
Egyptian Al-Ahly soccer club.

Prime Minister Hisham Kandil will convene on Wednesday with Port Said representatives of the Shura council (upper house of parliament) to discuss the ongoing crisis in the governorate.

Civil disobedience entered the fourth day in a row in Port Said on Wednesday with hundreds of residents refusing to go to work and rejecting a Monday statement made by President Mohamed Mursi.

Mursi had said that he intends to present a new draft law to the Shura Council (legislature) to restore the free-zone policy in Port Said and allocate 400 million Egyptian pounds from the Suez Canal revenues to developing the three Canal cities (Port Said, Ismaliya and Suez).

Forty-two people were killed when violence erupted in Port Said at the end of January when relatives of 21 defendants sentenced to death for involvement in football riots that killed over 70 people last February staged protests upon the verdict to express their anger.

Fifty-two more defendants will hear their verdicts on March 9 while football enthusiasts have threatened chaos if they were not satisfied with the outcome.

In an attempt to contain the violence, the president had declared a state of emergency in the three coastal governorates, including a curfew.

Wasat's parliamentarian Hussein Zayed, who is from Port Said, entered an open strike on Monday in protest against what he described as the regime's failure to solve the crisis in Port Said. He blamed President Mursi and his administration for the ongoing civil disobedience for failing to meet the demands of the residents and bring to justice those responsible for the violence that hit the city upon the verdict.

Two other members of the Shura Council, Amr Farouk and Atef Awad, also from the Wasat Party, have joined the strike in solidarity with Zayed, to put pressure on the authorities to listen to the demands of the people.

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