Egypt's new military govt. to ban unions, strikes
Egypt's new military rulers tried to contain growing labor unrest Monday and to reach out to youthful revolutionaries as the formidable task of governing the politically unstable and impoverished country became apparent. Police officers, ambulance drivers, bankers, journalists and archaeologists marched through the streets of Cairo in separate protests Monday. Emboldened by a sudden burst of freedom that has flowered since President Hosni Mubarak's departure on Friday, the demonstrators demanded higher wages and other benefits. "This is our ideal chance to make our voices heard," said Ahmed Mahmoud, a manager at a state-owned bank. "You would never see these kind of protests before, not when we had a dictator." The Supreme Military Council, which took power after Mubarak's resignation, responded with a communique in which it urged Egyptians to go back to work, saying the stoppages were harming the country's security and economy. The council imposed martial law Sunday, and officials hinted that they would ban strikes if things did not improve. "Honorable Egyptians regard these demonstrations, which are taking place at a critical moment, as leading to negative consequences," read the communique, the fifth handed down by the military council since last week.