Workers, military police clash in Egyptian canal city

Clashes broke out on Tuesday between workers at an industrial free zone in the Egyptian canal city of Ismailiya and military police in which 38 people were injured, witnesses and medics told AFP.

At least 5,000 workers from the Ismailiya Public Free Zone, where 80 factories produce textiles and leather, had tried to leave the industrial compound where they have been striking and were blocked by military police, witnesses said.

The military fired gunshots into the air and blocked the exit to the compound. Workers then pelted stones at the troops, who hurled them back.

The clashes left 36 workers and two military police officers injured. Of these, 23 people needed hospital treatment, medics said.

It was the second day of a strike by the workers who are demanding that the minimum monthly wage be raised to 1,200 Egyptian pounds (around $200).

They also want long-term contracts in order to qualify for benefits and a reduction in the numbers of foreign workers employed at the site.

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