Navigation normal in Suez Canal despite calls for civil disobedience

Calls for nationwide civil disobedience have not affected navigation in the Suez Canal, said a senior official from the Suez Canal Authority on Saturday.

Ahmed al-Manakhli, head of the authority's operations room, told Egyptian state TV that navigation has been regular so far, both from Port Tawfiq in the south and Port Said in the north.

He said that the total number of ships scheduled to pass through the Canal on Saturday is 49, with a net load of 74.2 tons.

Manakhli also said employees at the Suez Canal Authority refused to take part in the day of civil disobedience, which marks the first anniversary of Hosni Mubarak's ouster and calls for an end to military rule, due to the negative impact it would have on the country.

Suez Canal is a vital source of foreign currency for Egypt, along with tourism, oil and gas exports, and remittances from Egyptians living abroad.

Manakhli said that here have been tougher times for the canal, particularly in the period just after the revolution, adding that the number of vessels using the canal is higher than in previous years.

On Thursday, the government said Suez Canal revenue rose 7 percent in the year to January.

Revenue rose to US$445.8 million in January 2012 from $416.6 million in January 2011, the Egyptian Information Portal website showed on Thursday.

Revenue in December 2011 was $443.7 million.

Students and activists issued calls for nationwide civil disobedience starting on 11 February.
Some 11 universities and dozens of political groups called for civil disobedience to continue until the military rulers step down. Several labor unions, the April 6 Youth Movement and supporters of Mohamed ElBaradei will also take part.
The Sunni Muslim institute Al-Azhar and Coptic Pope Shenouda have decried the calls for a strike. The Freedom and Justice, Wasat and Wafd parties were among the most prominent parties to boycott the call.

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