- Middle East/North Africa
A civil disobedience campaign in the strategic city of Port Said, at the northern end of the Suez Canal, continues for the third day in protest against what the residents have described as negligence in carrying out investigations into the killing of dozens of residents in violence that erupted last month in the city.
Shops remain closed and some students have refrained from going to school.
Egyptian television on Monday broadcast a statement saying that President Mohamed Morsy was planning to submit a draft law to the Shura Council to restore the free trade zone in Port Said and to allocate LE400 million of the canal's revenues to the development of the three canal cities.
On Tuesday, Essam al-Erian, vice president of the Freedom and Justice Party and a Muslim Brotherhood leader, said “the concerns of Port Said top our priorities in the Shura Council.”
Morsy had imposed a curfew and state of emergency in the canal governorates for 30 days following bloody clashes between security forces and the families of the 21 people sentenced to death in the Port Said football massacre case. The clashes left 40 people dead and injured hundreds.
Several political powers and revolutionary movements called for mass civil disobedience in Port Said, to press for justice for dead protesters and the retrial of all suspects in the Port Said football massacre case. They also called for granting the people killed in the recent clashes martyr status like protesters killed during the 25 January revolution.
In the governorate's investment zone, which has 23 clothes factories, the investors association in the area announced its solidarity with residents of the city and said it will stage a march on Tuesday.
While traffic through the canal has been moving without interference, hundreds of workers at the Port Said Marine Shipyard continued a sit-in inside their workshops for the second day, chanting slogans and patriotic songs over loudspeakers. The Al-Masry Club Fans Association also marched to the shipyard in solidarity with the workers.
The workers are also planning to stage a march on Tuesday afternoon around Port Fouad city, located in eastern Port Said.
Additionally, workers at the Canal Ropes Company, a company affiliated with the Suez Canal Authority, shut the factory down and protested in support of the sit-in. Families of the victims of recent clashes also camped out Monday night in Shohada Square, in front of the governorate headquarters.
The protesters’ main demands include the appointment of an independent judge to investigate deaths and injuries from the recent unrest, as well as the resignation and trial of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim and Port Said Security Chief Mohsen Radi.
In an attempt to soothe the anger of Port Said, Fouad Gadallah, the president’s legal adviser, met Tuesday with a delegation that included Shura Council members from Port Said and several traders. After the meeting, the president agreed to appoint a judge to investigate last month’s violence in Port Said.
Magdy Kamal, general manager of the Port Said Investors Association, said the lack of a government response to Port Said residents’ demands is the main catalyst for the current civil disobedience campaign.
He added that the losses in the city have exceeded US$100 million since 26 January, saying to ONtv Monday that Port Said residents believe that the ruling was politicized.