23 February 2013

Egypt: Civil Disobedience in Port Said Enters Seventh Day

The workers in Port Said's marine shipyard, the employees of transport companies and the management of the Suez Canal Movement Authority, all declared on Saturday, the seventh day of civil disobedience, that they will join the disobedience, saying they will not be secluded from the demands of the people of Port Said.

An Aswat Masriya eyewitness said that civilians closed all the customs ports and prevented the entry and exit of all cars except for the ambulances.

The witness added that the Head of Port Said's First Instance Court, Amgad Abu State, decided to suspend the work of the court (sessions and administrators) for an indefinite period. The Courts of the State Council and the Courts of Appeal will continue to operate normally though.

The protesters have also stopped all vehicles transporting passengers between the governorates, to protest stealing one of the cars that belong to Port Said in Ramses station of Cairo and writing slurs against the people of Port Said on it. Yet the road was opened after the Armed Forces intervened to negotiate with the protesters.

On Sunday, hundreds of residents started a civil disobedience, demanding justice and an apology from the president and his administration for what they believe is negligence of their demands.

Forty-two people were killed when violence erupted in Port Said at the end of January when relatives of defendants sentenced to death for involvement in football riots that killed over 70 people last February clashed with police.

To calm tensions, Mursi referred a new draft law to the country's legislature to restore the free-zone policy in Port Said on Tuesday. He had also promised to allocate 400 million Egyptian pounds from the Suez Canal revenues to developing the three Canal cities (Port Said, Ismailia and Suez).

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

Eighty percent of schools in Port Said have suspended their classes where attendance is at 50 percent while many markets are closed and streets are empty.

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