Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

24 February 2013

Egypt: Civil Disobedience in Port Said Continues

Civil disobedience in Port Said entered its eight day on Sunday with protesters blocking some key ports and truck and railroad routes.

The protesters prevented more than 35, 000 workers from arriving to the free-zone investment area to carry on their tasks on Sunday, the state news agency reported.

The civil disobedience has paralyzed operations of a large part of the public sector, including the customs and tariffs authority.

Almost all schools have suspended classes on Sunday as protests increased, with raged residents calling for an official apology by the state and a fair treatment of victims of recent violence that swept the city.

Bus drivers of major transportation companies have also joined the strike as port workers continued to not carry on their jobs.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood had attempted to persuade protesters to return to work but failed.

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.

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