Monday, February 14, 2011

Cairo square protesters told to leave

Monday, February 14, 2011

Egyptian military officials moved to clear the remaining few dozen protesters in Cairo\'s Tahrir Square on Monday, and also were expected to effectively ban strikes.

Reuters reported that about 40 protesters remained in the square, the scene of anti-government demonstrations for more than two weeks. Some protesters told the news agency that they had been threatened with arrest if they did not leave.

CBC\'s Margaret Evans, reporting from Cairo, said traffic is moving through the area, and that an army of people with paint cans is trying to clean up the square.

On Sunday, soldiers scuffled with some protesters as they tried to move the remaining few thousand hardcore protesters into one corner of Tahrir Square or onto sidewalks to allow traffic to move through the area.

On Monday, military authorities were expected to issue a decree that would ban meetings by labour unions or professional syndicates — effectively forbidding strikes — and tell Egyptians to get back to work, Reuters reported.

Despite the expected order, hundreds of Egyptian state employees protested in Cairo on Monday to demand better pay and conditions. The Central Bank of Egypt ordered banks across the country closed following a strike by employees of the National Bank, the largest state bank.

The Armed Forces Supreme Council is now the official ruler after President Hosni Mubarak handed it power on Friday. It consists of the commanders of each military branch, the chief of staff and Defence Minister Hussein Tantawy.

On Sunday, military rulers dissolved the country\'s parliament and suspended the constitution — two key demands of some of the protesters

In a communiqué, the military leaders said they will run the country for six months, or until presidential and parliament elections can be held.

The military leadership also said it would form a committee to amend the constitution and set the rules for popular referendum to endorse the amendments.

The coalition behind the protests has demanded the lifting of emergency law; creation of a presidential council, made up of a military representative and two \"trusted personalities\"; the dissolving of the ruling party-dominated parliament; and the forming of a broad-based unity government and a committee to either amend or completely rewrite the constitution.

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