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Egypt protestors ignore calls for end of tumult, strikes continue

RIA Novosti

13:47 17/02/2011 CAIRO, February 17 (RIA Novosti) - Egyptian protestors continued to stage nationwide strikes on Thursday with no regard to calls from the country's leadership to end the upheavals and return to work, local media said.

Egypt was swept by street protests starting from January 25. On February 11, long-standing President Hosni Mubarak stepped down and handed power to the Higher Military Council. At least 365 people were killed and 5,500 injured in the nearly three-week unrest, the Egyptian Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

Labor strikes have spread to almost all of Egypt's largest private and state companies, including police and medical personnel. Workers are demanding higher salaries and improvement in work conditions; part-time workers are seeking stable contracts.

The former Egyptian government and the Higher Military Council have many times reiterated that it is impossible to raise salaries immediately. For the second time in three days, the Higher Military Council urged protestors to end their strikes. On Thursday, Egyptians who have cell phones received messages from the military pushing for them to end the protests. So far, the urge has not hit home.

Financial experts say Egypt has been losing up to $310 million each day of the protests. The country's banking system and the stock exchange are paralyzed. The tourist business has suffered substantial loss, with over a million foreign tourists having left the country.

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