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Cairo: Protesters Block Doors to Administrative Building

Protesters block the doors to Cairo's main administrative building as part of a growing campaign against President Mohammed Morsi.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/25/2013, 2:14 AM

Protesters opposing Morsi during a protest near Tahrir Square
Protesters opposing Morsi during a protest near Tahrir Square
Reuters

Protesters on Sunday blocked the doors to Cairo's main administrative building as part of a growing campaign of civil disobedience around the country against President Mohammed Morsi, AFP reported.

A group of protesters closed the doors of the Mugamma, a massive labyrinth of bureaucratic offices on the edge of Tahrir Square, leaving only a side exit for employees to leave, employees told AFP.

"This is a call for civil disobedience... We want the implementation of the goals of the revolution such as social justice as well as a delay of parliamentary elections," which is set for April 22, one of the protesters told AFP.

"We must break the monopoly of the state by Brotherhood," he said, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood movement from which Morsi hails.

Since a November decree that pushed through an Islamist-drafted constitution, Egypt has been deeply divided between Morsi's Islamist supporters and a wide-ranging opposition that accuses the president of betraying the uprising that brought him to office and consolidating power in the hands of his Muslim Brotherhood.

Outside the Mugamma, the protesters threatened to extend their protest, adding that the next step could be to close down the television building which also houses the information ministry.

In the northern city of Kafr el-Sheikh, hundreds of quarry workers stormed the governorate headquarters to protest against working conditions and forced employees out of the building, chanting against governor Saad al-Husseini, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A crippling economic crisis has also fuelled the anger, reported AFP. Bakeries across Egypt have threatened to go on strike on Thursday due to rising wheat prices, a potentially devastating move in a country where many rely on subsidized bread as the main food staple.

Thousands are employed at the Mugamma, which houses passport offices, tax offices and various other government agencies.

"A small group of young people closed the main doors of the building and they are not letting anyone in," one employee told AFP from inside the building.

The protesters "did not enter the building," the employee said.

"They have left a door open and said employees who finish their shift must leave and that they won't let anyone in," a witness said.

The Mugamma has been closed before, most recently during protests marking two years since the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising.

A general strike in the canal city of Port Said, meanwhile, entered its second week on Sunday, with most shops and factories closed down.

Last week Morsi called parliamentary elections starting April 27, but the date was later changed to April 22 so that it doesn’t conflict with the Christian Easter holiday.

The lower house was elected early last year, with Islamists winning an overwhelming majority. But in June the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled it invalid, saying there were irregularities in the electoral law.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which Morsi headed before his election, said it expected to win more seats in the next election than in the previous vote, in which it clinched about 40 percent of vote.

Protests by Egyptians who accuse Morsi of betraying the revolution that brought him to power, have often turned into violent and sometimes deadly clashes with police.