DETROIT (AP) — A number of international companies have suspended operations in Egypt as three days of violent street battles make the streets of Cairo unsafe.
General Motors Co., Electrolux AB, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Heineken N.V., Toyota Motor Corp., Suzuki Motor Corp., BASF SE and others shut down facilities and told thousands of workers to stay at home during unrest that has left more 700 people dead as of late Friday.
"This was a precautionary safety measure to ensure employees would not be exposed to risks traveling to and from work," Daniel Frykholm, a spokesman for Swedish appliance maker Electrolux, said in an email. The company, which has about 6,700 workers in Egypt, asked employees to stay home Wednesday afternoon and Thursday. Friday and Saturday are the Egyptian weekend, and the company will decide Saturday evening if it's safe enough to resume normal operations, Frykholm said.
Royal Dutch Shell closed its offices Thursday. They will remain shuttered Friday and Saturday. The company also restricted employee travel as the violence continued and said it was monitoring the situation. It was unclear whether Shell's main production facility, a joint venture with Badr El-Din Petroleum Co., had been closed.
General Motors' Egyptian operations will remain shut indefinitely, including a plant in the Cairo suburb of 6th October City where it makes cars, light trucks and minibuses. The auto giant has about 1,400 workers in Egypt, where in 1983 it became the first private automaker to establish operations in the country.
At least 700 people have been killed in violence that continues to rage after riot police razed two Cairo encampments where supporters of President Mohammed Morsi were protesting his ouster.
Morsi was deposed by the military on July 3 after months of protests against his rule.
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