Labor strikes in Egypt spill into broader unrest - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Labor strikes in Egypt spill into broader unrest

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Suez Canal Company workers protest as they began an open-ended strike in front of the company's headquarters in Ismailia City, Egypt,Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. Suez Canal Company workers protest as they began an open-ended strike in front of the company's headquarters in Ismailia City, Egypt,Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011.
Egyptian protesters wave a giant flag in front of the Egyptian Parliament in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/ Mohammed Abou Zaid) Egyptian protesters wave a giant flag in front of the Egyptian Parliament in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/ Mohammed Abou Zaid)

CAIRO (AP) — Strikes have erupted across Egypt as thousands of state workers and others demand better pay, benefits and working conditions.

They began as many companies reopened for the first time since night curfews were imposed almost two weeks ago.

Among those walking off the job today are railway and bus workers, state electricity staff and service technicians at the Suez Canal, workers who make textiles, steel and beverages and those in at least one hospital.

In one of the flashpoints, some 8,000 protesters, mainly farmers, set barricades of flaming palm trees in a southern province. They blocked the main highway and railway to Cairo to complain of bread shortages. They then drove off the governor by pelting his van with stones.

The growing labor unrest is adding a new dimension to the pressures for President Hosni Mubarak to step down, as protesters have been demanding for the past 16 days.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

CAIRO (AP) — Thousands of workers across Egypt, have gone on strike, demanding better pay, benefits and working conditions in added turmoil amid the country's anti-government protests.

The labor movement that mushroomed Wednesday could add new momentum to mass demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak. The protesters in Cairo want Mubarak's ouster, saying his regime is riddled with corruption and Egypt has become a nation of growing poverty.

More than 5,000 workers from a variety of companies, including a ship repair firm, have gone on strike in the port city of Suez. Thousands of others have staged protests on company grounds in the cities of Mahalla, Port Said and Cairo.

The Suez strikes have not affected ship traffic through the Suez Canal.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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