Egypt military asks Egyptians to shun strikes, return to work

 
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Rania

Cairo, Feb 14 (PTI) Egypt''s military today askedEgyptians to refrain from striking work, warning that furtherunrest would hurt the country''s economy as labour strikes andprotests intensified following the overthrow of the HosniMubarak regime.

A series of strikes and protests by workers demandingbetter working conditions have gripped the country over thepast few days as the workers feel emboldened following thesuccess of the mass uprising.

Seeking to restore normalcy after three weeks ofunrest, the military said Egypt was at a "critical stage" anda less chaotic atmosphere was needed to ensure that thecaretaker government is able to run the affairs and hand overthe power to an elected government.

In its latest communique read out on TV, the militaryappealed to all Egyptians to get back to work.

The Supreme Military Council, that is entrusted withthe task of temporarily running the country and overseeingpolitical and constitutional reforms, said strikes andprotests hurt the country''s security and economy.

It also warned that the unrest would give a chance to"irresponsible parties" to commit "illegal acts."

Reports said that workers in banking, transport, oil,tourism, textiles, state-owned media and government bodieswere striking work to demand higher wages and betterconditions.

Media reports earlier had said the Council isconsidering banning strikes so as to restore order andnormalcy, but the military''s new statement stopped short oftaking this extreme step.

Earlier in the day, eight online activists, who hadhelped galvanise the pro-democracy movement in Egypt, met themilitary leadership to discus the future of political reform.

They said the caretaker government has set a 10-daytimeframe to rewrite the Mubarak-era constitution, to be putto referendum within two months, Al Jazeera reported.

The unlikely hero of the Egypt uprising, young Googleexecutive Wael Ghonim, along with seven others, discussed thefuture course of actions with the military leadership.

"We met the army ... to understand their point of viewand lay out our views," Ghonim and blogger Amr Salama said ina note on a pro-democracy website that had helped launch therevolt.

Ghonim became a national hero after his 12-daydetention and an emotional appearance on television, and alsoaddressed gatherings at the Tahrir Square. .

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