Egypt detains three ex-ministers

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"If those detained during the protests are not released, let alone the older political prisoners, it would bea bad sign," he said. "It would show the army is not sincereabout political reforms."

The coalition has vowed to maintain pressure to ensurethe rest of its political demands are met, including the"immediate release of all detainees," it said in statementposted on Facebook.

The situation in Egypt remains unsettled amid labourstrikes and apprehensions that the military council runningthe country may not implement promised democratic reforms.

Protest organisers have kept up pressure on theinterim military government, demanding that politicalprisoners be freed, emergency rule lifted and fair electionsheld soon.

Rights groups have claimed that hundreds of peoplewent missing during the protests and alleged army''sinvolvement.

Since Mubarak''s fall a week ago, Egyptian workershavebeen staging pay strikes despite calls from the military forthem to return to work and warnings of "disastrous"consequences.

Workers are seeking resignation of leaders of state-controlled trade unions and company board members, accusingthem of corruption, and demanding higher wages and betterworking conditions.

Egyptian authorities yesterday arrested three formerministers, including ex-Interior Minister Habib el-Adly whowas widely blamed for the brutality by riot police whiletrying to quell protests, media reports said.

The other two arrested were Ahmed Maghrabi, formerHousing Minister; and Zuheir Garana, ex-Tourism Minister.

Meanwhile, the US has announced USD 150 million in aid toEgypt in support of its transition towards democracy followingthe ouster of Mubarak.

The Obama administration is also dispatching WilliamBurns, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, andDavid Lipton, a senior White House adviser on internationaleconomics, to Egypt next week for talks with the interimmilitary government on the issues related to transition. PTIKIM

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