Babylon & Beyond

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EGYPT: Military says strikes hurting economy, won't be tolerated

February 18, 2011 | 12:55 pm

Strikes by Egyptian public workers are prolonging the nation's instability and threatening its economic future, the ruling military council said Friday as it warned that steps would be taken to halt the disruptions.

A week after widespread protests forced President Hosni Mubarak to step down and take refuge at a seaside compound, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said that it would no longer tolerate "illegitimate practices."

Strikers "will be confronted," warned the council, which took interim power a week ago when Mubarak caved in to protesters' demands for democratic reform and a new leader to direct it. The army statement, aired on state-run television, said all necessary "legal steps" would be taken to protect the citizenry and the nation.

Work stoppages for better pay and conditions swept Egypt as protesters intensified their demands that Mubarak leave, and many public employees continue to press for improvements before returning to work to restore normal government services.

The military statement accused unidentified "elements" of interfering to prolong the labor strife and said some were seizing government land and property for their own use.

— Carol J. Williams