Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Egypt bread riots: Protests erupt after proposed cut to subsidies

Crowds take to streets in Alexandria, Giza and other areas after government proposes limit on supply of bread amid economic crisis


Egyptians took to the streets on Tuesday in protest at the proposed limits on bread supplies and a cancellation of subsidies, as the country sinks depper into economic crisis.
Reports and videos on social media showed crowds in central Alexandria, in what was dubbed on social media the "Intifada of supplies". Many became angry after bakeries refused to take their subsidy cards, which Egyptians use to get a government quota of bread.
Social media reports suggested police had fired warning shots over the heads of demonstrators in the Cairo suburb of Imbaba, although Middle East Eye is unable to verify the reports.
The protests come a day after the minister of supplies [REMINDS ME OF THE "MINISTRY OF PLENTY" IN GEORGE ORWELL'S 1984], Ali Moselhy, announced he was considering limiting bread to three loaves per person a day and cancelling subsidies.
Protesters also blocked railways station in Desouk, 80km east of Alexandria in the Kafr el-Sheikh province. 
"We want to eat! We want bread!" protesters chanted in what seem peaceful protests, according to Egyptian journalists on the ground.  
A correspondent for Middle East Eye said there were also protests in Giza, south of Cairo - leading to clashes with police, road blocking and minor rioting.
Police officials and national security agents have asked protesters to return home, saying their demands would be satisfied if they stopped protesting, according to tweets from protesters. 
The protesters included families and older Egyptians, the correspondent said. 
Social reports said the rail link between Cairo and Minya in upper Egypt had also been blocked by protesters.
The government recently lifted subsidies on staple foods, and has suffered shortages of other basic foodstuffs, as Egypt faces a debt crisis and rampant inflation that has hit more than 20 percent.
Moselhy replaced Major General Mohammed Ali el-Sheikh as minister of supplies in February following widespread shortages of sugar.
In Egypt, bread is called "life" (bread) because the poor depend on it. That's why when it is threatened there is revolt.

Bread uprising  is the most trending hashtag in  as bread protests erupt across the country.

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