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.
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 protester deaths to be speeded up in a speech that failed to convince many Egyptians.
Demonstrators said such promises had been made before. They also called for the released police officers to be detained again. They threatened to block entry for workers on 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.
Meanwhile, revenue from Suez Canal rose 16 per cent year on year to $445.2 million in June, up 2 per cent from a month earlier, a government portal showed. Revenue in June 2010 was $383.7 million. In May 2011 it was $436.6 million.
The waterway is a vital source of foreign currency in Egypt, along with tourism, oil and gas exports and remittances from Egyptians living abroad.