Egypt protest calls largely unheeded

In Cairo, where police had deployed in force in anticipation of protests, seven alleged demonstrators were arrested, a security official said.

Egypt protest calls largely unheeded

World Bulletin / News Desk

Egyptian police quashed a few small protests across the country on Friday as calls for an uprising against the rising cost of living largely went unheeded.

Police also quickly scattered several dozen protesters who assembled in the port city of Suez.

There had been calls on social media, backed by the banned Muslim Brotherhood opposition group, for protests on Friday against rising prices and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

In the run up to Friday, the interior ministry had announced the arrests of alleged Brotherhood members planning violence on the day.

Unlicenced protests had been banned in Egypt after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and cracked down on his followers.

Clashes between security forces and pro-Morsi protesters in the following months killed hundred of his supporters and thousands have been jailed.

Meanwhile a jihadist insurgency has killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers, and also targeted tourists, further battering the country's economy.

After months of a dollar crunch that caused a slump in imports, Egypt last week floated the pound, drastically depreciating its value.

Inflation, currently at 14 percent, is expected to rise.

The government said the move, part of an austerity programme in tandem with a $12 billion IMF loan, could no longer be postponed.

Previous governments had been wary of such measures, fearing they could spark unrest.

But many Egyptians are weary after years of tumult in which the country saw two presidents deposed and have little appetite for more protests.

Last Mod: 11 Kasım 2016, 16:24
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