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Military appeals to disgruntled Egyptians to go back to work

By the CNN Wire Staff
Egyptian tour guides rally near the pyramids outside Cairo on Monday.
Egyptian tour guides rally near the pyramids outside Cairo on Monday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Military communique seeks "security and stability of the nation"
  • It calls on Egyptians "to carry out their duties"

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Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- As Egyptians began to grasp the magnitude of the revolution that has swept through their country, the military junta found itself grappling Monday with the economic problems that fueled the revolt, including massive youth unemployment and economic underdevelopment.

In a communique, the military appealed to Egyptians to return to work, saying a lack of production will hurt the nation's economy already weakened by the protests.

The armed forces, "in order to achieve security and stability of the nation and the citizens and to guarantee the continuation of production in all the country sectors, calls on the citizens and labor sectors to carry out their duties, each one in his position, with appreciation for what you have endured for a long time," said Maj. Gen. Mohsen al-Fangari.

The communique was issued as state workers from the civil affairs section of the Interior Ministry demonstrated in Cairo's Abbasiya neighborhood calling for fair compensation and better work conditions, witnesses told CNN.

Continued protests in Cairo
Egyptian military takes charge
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Minna Ali complained that her monthly salary is $125 after 25 years of work, while others in the same ministry at the same level with less experience receive $850.

Witnesses told CNN that 1,500 tourist guides gathered near the Sphinx to mark their "love for Egypt," as the event was called. But the gathering turned into a protest against the government as the guides called for better pay from the Tourism Ministry and compensation for the days during the demonstrations when they sat idle.

Tourism, a major source of international exchange, has all but dried up since the demonstrations began January 25.

In the industrial Kom Osheem area between Cairo and Fayoum, 2,000 ceramic workers protested poor wages and corruption Sunday and Monday, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper reported.

In Giza, 2,000 ambulance and health workers parked their vehicles Monday in front of a health center and sounded their alarms to demand that temporary ambulance workers be given better contracts and health benefits.

In the Nile delta city of Tanta, hundreds of workers at the health, petroleum and education ministries protested for better salaries, state-media reported.

And hundreds of workers at state-owned bakeries demonstrated Monday for higher wages; about 200 retirees of Cairo's metro system protested low retirement wages.

Monday was declared a bank holiday after protests at the headquarters of the National Bank of Egypt appeared to have forced the ouster of that institution's chairman, Tarek Amer, and two deputies, who submitted their resignations on Sunday, according to an e-mail shared with CNN by a bank employee.

It was not clear whether the resignations were accepted. But Egyptian state television announced Sunday evening that banks would remain closed until Wednesday.

About 500 bank employees continued their protests Monday in front of the bank, asking for more executives to resign and for better pay, witnesses said. Bank workers have complained that members of Mubarak's family had put their allies into positions of power at the bank with grossly inflated salaries.

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