News / Middle East

Edgy Egyptians Stock Up on Essentials Ahead of June 30 Protests

A family loads groceries into the trunk of their car ahead of demonstrations against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Cairo, June 25, 2013.
A family loads groceries into the trunk of their car ahead of demonstrations against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Cairo, June 25, 2013.
Egyptians are stocking up on food, fuel and cash ahead of protests this weekend against President Mohamed Morsi that many fear will be the most violent and disruptive this year.
Morsi's liberal, leftist and secular-minded opponents have called on Egyptians to take to the streets on June 30 - the one-year anniversary of the Islamist president's first day in office - to demand his resignation.
Street cafes, minibusses, banks, offices and grocery stores across the Arab world's most populous country have been abuzz for weeks with talk of the “June 30'' protests.
Many people have started hoarding essentials, fearing a repeat of the disruption that hit business and transport during the 18-day revolt that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Mona Kamel, a 52-year-old office secretary, said she had bought a week's worth of rice, pasta, sugar, milk, bread and cheese to see her family through any disruption.
“My neighbors, friends and colleagues are all doing this just in case,'' she said. “Maybe there will be curfews, maybe bakeries won't run their ovens. It's better to be prepared.''
Long lines have formed at gas stations across Cairo over the last few days, blocking thoroughfares and worsening already snarling gridlock. Some motorists said they were trying to fuel up ahead of the demonstrations.
The oil ministry on Tuesday dismissed “rumors'' of fuel shortages and urged citizens not to be “misled'' into hoarding gas, the state news agency MENA reported.
But Mona Waleed, a 39-year-old local oil firm employee, said she sat in line at a petrol station for four hours on Tuesday waiting to fill up.
Waleed, who said she also made two trips to the bank this week to make sure her family of four had enough cash to last a month, said the 2011 uprising had taken many people off guard.
“This time, people are afraid and they are getting ready,'' she said.
Fear of violence 

Anti-Morsi activists have been boosted by the momentum of a months-old signature drive to withdraw confidence from the president, known as “Tamarod'' or “Rebel." The campaign claims to have gathered 15 million signatures, more than the number of votes Morsi received in last year's presidential election.
A coalition of Morsi's Islamist supporters - including his Muslim Brotherhood - has called for counter-demonstrations to assert his legitimacy, raising the chances of violent confrontations between the two sides. The tension prompted Egypt's army to warn it may step in to impose order.
Organizers have called for marches from downtown Cairo and surrounding neighborhoods to the presidential palace in the suburb of Heliopolis, where rival factions of Morsi's supporters and opponents have clashed in the past.
In the suburb of Nasr City, Rijan Samier, 41, said she started to worry about the potential for confrontation when thousands of Islamists flooded her neighborhood on Friday to rally outside a local mosque in support of the president.
Some of her neighbors set up checkpoints to prevent the protesters from reaching the mosque through their street, she said, although the day passed without violence.
“Thank God, nothing happened this time,'' Samier said.
Supply side panic

The nervousness is also affecting suppliers.
In a working class district near Cairo's Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of Egypt's 2011 uprising, Youssef Sabet said he was afraid his small grocery store would be broken into if the protests turned violent.

“Whenever any problems on the street happen, they start here,'' Sabet, 56, said. “I am running down my supplies. I've stopped bringing in new goods.''
Sabet and other shopkeepers downtown said they would close their stores on Sunday - the first day of Egypt's working week - either to join the rallies or to protect their property.
The United States embassy said it would also close on Sunday and urged Americans to ensure they had enough supplies to make it through “an extended period'' at home.
Workers at the Semiramis Intercontinental have just finished putting up a tall black steel gated fence around the five-star hotel, which overlooks Tahrir and the Nile River.
Looters broke into the hotel in January after protests marking the second anniversary of the Jan. 25 uprising, trashing the lobby and shops while riot police stood by.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Countries Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs