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Egyptian Police Stage Demonstration for Pay Rise

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December 8, 2013

Egyptian police, well aware of the country's new protest law, staged their own demonstration to call for higher wages.

About 200 non-commissioned officers marched in the peaceful demonstration, which had the required permission. The protest began as a gathering at a Police Club in Cairo and then became a march to the Interior Ministry. Technically, the permission was just for the club gathering, not for the march.

Other protests in Egypt were not so non-violent. Supporters of jailed Mohamed Morsi, the country's first freely elected president in decades, gathered at two Cairo-area universities, al-Azhar University and Mansoura University. Police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, using the same approach that they have used repeatedly in recent weeks.

At the same time, the government moved forward with the trial of three prominent activists, one of whom has been charged with protesting without permission, while at the same time releasing 21 women convicted under the protest law, suspending the 11-year sentences after the women had been held in custody for a month.

The unrest continues to weaken Egypt's economic position. The government reported foreign reserves of $17.8 billion, less than half that in early 2011, when Hosni Mubarak fled the presidency. Qatar, one of two nations to have loaned Egypt large sums of money, refused to renew that loan, and Egypt was forced to return a $500 million deposit, just days after halting a decision to renew an application to the International Monetary Fund for a loan of $4.8 billion.

The government is still counting on $1 billin aid from Kuwait and $3 billion from the United Arab Emirates.

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