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Egyptian riot police quash nationwide austerity protests Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Egyptian riot police quash nationwide austerity protests

There had been calls on social media for protests on Friday against rising prices

Date of publication: 11 November, 2016

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At least 130 protesters who rallied against the rising prices and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi were arrested by riot police heavily deployed in Cairo and across the country.
Egyptian police quashed a number of small protests across the country on Friday and arrested dozens of protesters as calls for an uprising against the rising prices largely went unheeded.

Police rounded up at least 130 protesters across the country, a security official said.

In Cairo, where police had deployed in force in anticipation of protests, 39 alleged demonstrators were arrested.

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

There had been calls on social media for protests on Friday against rising prices and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

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

Activists have called for nationwide protests Friday, dubbing it the "revolution of the poor."

Authorities banned all unauthorised demonstrations and have routinely responded to protests with lethal force.

Political parties distanced themselves from the call for protests on Friday as authorities accused Islamist groups like the banned Muslim Brotherhood of engineering the protests to cause chaos.

Egypt's government floated the local currency last week and raised fuel prices in order to qualify for a $12 billion bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund.

While the reforms earned praise from the IMF and the international business community, they have also spawned rising prices and costs of living for an already frustrated Egyptian population and President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi risks a serious political backlash.

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

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

Agencies contributed to this report.

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