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Global Post: Egypt bread protests begin after rationing announced
Posted By admin On March 20, 2013 @ 10:07 am In Newswire | No Comments
CAIRO, Egypt — Hundreds of Egyptian bakers blocked roads in Cairo on Tuesday in reaction to a government plan to ration bread.
They descended on the Supply Ministry to protest diesel shortages and rising fuel and flour prices, the Egypt Independent said.
Bakers are under increased pressure with rising costs and shortages while trying to survive under Egypt’s long-held policy of subsidizing bread and fuel prices.
The cheap bread is often the best and only food source for the nation’s poorest people. Now, the government wants to begin rationing those loaves, Reuters reported.
It’s a move to reduce the country’s deficit and will involve issuing electronic cards to control how much bread people can buy.
The plan will begin “after two months” in Port Said and Port Fouad, according to Reuters.
GlobalPost’s senior correspondent in Egypt, Erin Cunningham, says that tampering with subsidized bread is “perhaps the most politically risky of measures” Egypt could use to address its budget deficit.
As recently as 2008, rumors that state subsidies on bread would be lifted prompted protests and clashes across the country, in which several Egyptians died.
Demonstrators that spearheaded Egypt’s revolution in 2011 adopted the slogan “bread, freedom and social justice!,” which has been a rallying cry at protests ever since.
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