Last Updated: Sun Jul 10, 2011 21:02 pm (KSA) 18:02 pm (GMT)

Egypt’s Suez Canal, a door to global trade, is open, despite protesters’ efforts

A man looks on as US amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge sails through the Suez canal. (REUTERS Photo)
A man looks on as US amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge sails through the Suez canal. (REUTERS Photo)

Egypt’s Suez Canal, a vital waterway for world trade, is operating normally despite days of sit-ins and protests in the area, a Suez Canal Authority official told the state news agency, MENA, on Sunday.

Protests erupted in Suez, a city at the southern entrance to the canal, on Wednesday when a court upheld a decision to grant bail to 10 policemen on trial for killing protesters in the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s longtime president.

About 1,000 protesters blocked a main road to the canal and Tawfik port on the Red Sea on Saturday night after Prime Minister Essam Sharaf called for probes into the deaths of protesters to be speeded up. His speech failed to convince many Egyptians.

Demonstrators said such promises had been made before. They also called for the released police officers to again be detained. They threatened to block entry for workers to the canal and to seize the authority’s main building.

“Movement in the Suez Canal is regular,” Ahmed El Manakhly, head of traffic at the authority, told MENA. “The canal is working in cooperation with the armed forces to secure entries to the canal.”

Operations at the Red Sea’s Adabiya port were halted on Sunday because of protests, a port official said. Protesters blocked the entry and exit of cargo trucks at the port, and prevented workers from getting to their offices.

Hundreds of protesters also blocked a road connecting Cairo with the Red Sea town of Ain Sokhna, south of the city of Suez.

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