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Labor Strikes Hit Egypt as Military Calls Public Holiday

Lauren Frayer | Cairo February 14, 2011

Egypt's military is calling for an end to labor strikes and is implementing a public holiday Monday, to allow Egyptians more time to ease into normal life after President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.

In the new Egypt, it seems as though everyone is clamoring for more rights. Police marched through downtown Cairo on Monday, demanding better pay and respect. Ambulance drivers, state media and transport workers are also on strike.

Egypt’s new military rulers declared Monday a public holiday, giving citizens time to get back to normal.

“It’s a lovely day, people have hope… yeah it’s lovely actually,” said Ronda Georgie, a flight attendant.

But Egypt’s military also called for an end to labor strikes. Many worry such demonstrators could further damage the economy. Others say this is democracy now.

“People are marching in the streets asking for more… which is beautiful to see actually,” Georgie said.

Egyptian police, who largely vanished during anti-government protests, have reappeared to direct traffic. Congestion has returned to Tahrir Square, where an 18-day demonstration led to President Hosni Mubarak stepping down.

But military vehicles still line its streets.

Mourners gather in one corner of the square, at a makeshift memorial for some of the estimated 300 people killed in the 18-day standoff. Discussions are already under way for a permanent memorial here.

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