Strikes continue in Egypt despite authorities' warning

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Despite calls from Egypt's ruling supreme council of the armed forces to end strikes and demonstrations that are damaging the efforts for economic recovery, strikes continued Wednesday in some parts of the country, local media reported.

In the industrial city of Mahalla el-Koubra in the Nile Delta, around 20,000 workers of a textile company stormed into the streets to protest against low pay and call for investigations into corruption.

Another protest by workers of the Abu Hamada mining factory to express their anger over low wages, increased working hours and poor treatment brought Cairo-Alexandria highway to a standstill, reported Ahram Online.

The strikes, many of which hit state-run agencies and industries, spread as Egypt is struggling against the impacts of the political upheaval that toppled the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, and are posing a bigger challenge to the country's economy.

In Cairo, dozens of archaeologists protested in front of the Ministry of Antiquities in Zamalek district and the cabinet building in downtown as they sought full time employment.

Administrators in Teachers Syndicate and Ministry of Health also called for equality, salary hike and full time employment.

About 2,000 employees of the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration protested against corruption within a group of investors who were appointed by the minister Aisha Abdel Hadi, reported Al Masry Al Youm newspaper.

Central Audition Organization employees staged a sit-in, demanding the organization be given total independence from the government.

Meanwhile, the banks remained closed across Egypt Wednesday with no clear date of when they will reopen, amid fears over increasing protests in the banking system.

The caretaker Minister of Higher Education Hani Helal also announced Wednesday that some schools and universities will remain closed for another week.

The supreme council of the armed forces warned Tuesday that further spread of strikes and continued social instability in the country will be "catastrophic", calling for an end to all strikes.

"The council understands very well the economic and social grievances of the society, but the people have to realize that strikes, sit-ins, work and production stoppages and damaging factories will not get their problems solved," the state news agency MENA quoted military sources as saying.

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