Police on strike alert

Egypt ordered its police on alert to foil a nationwide strike planned by pro-democracy activists for Monday.

Sunday’s order from the Interior Ministry came a day after police arrested 28 activists of the April 6 Movement, which has called for the strike to protest government restrictions on the activity of political groups.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group, said it will also take part in the strike.

Plain clothes security men were deployed in Cairo’s main squares and around several government offices where the activists said they will stage their protests, Interior Ministry officials said.

The April 6 Movement gets its name from the date last year of a strike by workers at a textile factory who were demanding higher wages.

That protest prompted a brutal police crackdown.

Following that episode, the movement’s activists attempted to channel popular discontent over lack of democracy, corruption and human rights abuses through protests organised by cellphone messages and the social networking site Facebook.

However, their call last year for a nationwide strike on May 4, President Hosni Mubarak’s birthday, went largely unheeded.

The group says it has the support of 75 000 members.

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