Unrest broke out yesterday in Cairo and Mahalla al Kubra (around 100km north of the capital) when demonstrations against the rising cost of living degenerated into clashes with police.
The toll of the unrest is unknown, though the international press reports dozens wounded, hundreds of arrests (ranging from 250 reported by some to 800 by others) and even two killed by rubber bullets fired by police to disperse the protesters.
The situation was particularly tense in the Nile Delta town of Mahalla al Kubra, where textile factory workers headed the demonstration against rising prices, demanding higher salaries to compensate for the rising cost of basic necessities (mainly food) on the national markets.
Egypt’s urban consumer inflation has soared to 12 per cent, with higher peaks for some food. Other residents joined the textile workers in the demonstration, sparking riots, vandalism and attacks on shopping centres and markets. Demonstrations and solidarity strikes took place also in other Egyptian cities, including Cairo.