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.
Reuters
— 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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid