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 As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.