CAIRO - Egypt marked on Saturday, February 11, the first anniversary of the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, as poor turnout for a strike called by activists to protest the slow pace of change from military rule reflected the diminishing support of activists among Egyptians.
"We are hungry and we have to feed our children," bus driver Ahmed Khalil told Reuters, explaining why he was not taking part in the labor action called by liberal and leftist groups, together with some student and independent trade unions.
"I have to come here every morning and work. I don't care if there is a strike or civil disobedience," he said.
The official media reported that public buses and trains were operating normally across Cairo and Government institutions have pledged to work extra hours rejecting the call for a strike.
Some youth and revolutionary groups have called for a general strike and civil disobedience on Saturday, which marks the first anniversary of Mubarak's ouster in a popular revolt.
The calls capped a series of protests pressuring the military to transfer power immediately to civilians.
Among political groups taking part are the January 25 Revolution Youth Coalition, the April 6 Youth Movement, the Youth for Freedom and Justice Movement, the Revolution Youth Union, the Wasat Party and the Ghad Al-Thawra Party.
Organizers argue that the strike aims to pile pressures on the ruling military council to hand over power to a civilian authority.
The call comes following days of deadly clashes between protestors and security forces in Cairo and Suez, which left at least 15 people dead.
Responding to the calls, Egypt's military rulers have ordered the deployment of more soldiers and tanks across the country.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) accused what it called plotters of trying to undermine the Egyptian state. It warned they would bring Egypt chaos and destruction.
We will never yield to threats, and we will never give in to pressure, the SCAF said in a statement read on in official TV channels.
We tell you quite frankly that our dear Egypt faces plans aimed at striking at the heart of our revolution.
We are facing plots against the nation aiming to undermine the institutions of the Egyptian state, and to topple the state itself so that chaos reigns.
No Civil Disobedience
Despite strike calls, Egypt appeared calm Saturday as workers across Egypt have reportedly failed to heed earlier calls by activists.
They say it is an experimental step in civil disobedience, Mohamed Waked, a member of the National Front for Justice and Democracy (one of the groups in Egypt's Revolutionaries Alliance calling for the strike), told Ahram Online.
Al-Azhar, Egypt's Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb and Pope Shenouda III had earlier opposed civil disobedience calls as having a grave impact on the country.
Many liberals as well do not agree with civil disobedience.
We didn't call for civil disobedience. I think the media has intentionally described it as the latter to freak people out, Waked added.
Emad Gad MP, a researcher at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, agreed.
This is an irrational call, he told Ahram Online
Civil disobedience closes the door to any negotiation.
The military council has been facing accusations of dragging feet on handing over power to civilians, a claim denied by the junta.
Last week, the council decided to open nominations for the country's presidential election by March 10.
Though no date has been yet set for the elections, which are originally set for June, the polls are now expected to be held by May.