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Egypt protesters block doors to Cairo administrative hub

By AFP - Feb 24,2013 - Last updated at Feb 24,2013

CAIRO — Protesters on Sunday blocked the doors to Cairo’s main administrative building as part of a growing campaign of civil disobedience across the country against Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

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, declining to give his name.

“We must break the monopoly of the state that the Brotherhood has,” he said of the Islamist 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.

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 subsidised bread as their 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 left a door open and said employees who have finished their shift must leave, and that they won’t let anyone else 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.

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