After regime change, Egypt witnesses workers unrest


Cairo, Feb 16 (PTI) Egyptian workers ignored calls bythe military and took to the streets again to demand higherwages and better working conditions as the country''s newleadership faced the difficult task of bringing back orderwhile keeping people on its side.

The mass uprising in Egypt that overthrew the HosniMubarak government has now made way for widespread labourunrest, with workers unions striking work.

Emboldened by the success of the mass protests, andangry over rising prices and economic hardship, workers inEgypt''s largest factory again called off work, days afterending their strike, Al Arabiya reported.

The development came despite the military leadershipissuing a warning that further unrest in the country wouldspell disaster for the economy.

In a statement, the Supreme Military Council had askedthe workers to get back to work and abandon the strikes andprotests.

The military now faces a difficult balancing actbetween heeding to the peoples views and restoring stability.

The Council also formed an eight-member panelyesterday to carry out the task of rewriting the constitutionwithin 10 days, before it is put to referendum within twomonths.

The panel is headed by a former judge and includes aformer lawmaker of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The military has promised to oversee a peacefultransition to democracy, scheduling elections for September,but its course of political reform is being tested by thecontinued protests and sit-ins by workers in the country.

The military assumed power last week when Mubarakstepped down in the face of incessant mass protests, afterruling the country for 30 years.

The step by the military to set up a panel came twodays after a parliament packed with Mubarak loyalists wasdissolved and the constitution suspended in line with thedemands of the protesters.

The constitution, that now stands suspended, hadprovisions that helped Mubarak and his allies in power, and amajor demand of the protesters was the scrapping of suchguarantees and putting term limits for presidential tenure.

The Egyptian military also sacked two top securityofficials yesterday for their role in decisions to open fireon anti-Mubarak protesters during the 18-day uprising.

Political unrest, meanwhile mounted in other Arabnations, with Egypt-inspired rallies witnessed in Bahrain,Libya and Iran. PTI

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