Butane shortage protest halts Upper Egypt rails

Minya residents protesting the shortage of butane gas cylinders blocked train traffic in Upper Egypt Thursday.

“Resident gathered at 9:50 am on Thursday on railways of Malateya station, located between Maghagha and Bani Mazar stations,” head of the Egypt Railways Authority Hani Hegab said in a statement.

Hegab called on citizens to end the protests, saying they hinder other people’s interests and cause the authority huge losses. Demonstrators in various towns have repeatedly disrupted rail traffic over the past year to call attention to various problems.

Amid increasing protests over a general fuel shortage, the government said it had pumped more gas into the market last month.

Hundreds of Gerga City residents in Assiut blocked the rails on Wednesday for almost seven hours, saying that gas cylinders are being sold for eight times their actual value of around LE6.50.

Traffic then returned to normal after negotiations with security services and the delivery of 1000 cylinders to the city. 

About a quarter of the national budget is devoted to fuel subsidies, and the government has been implementing programs in recent years to provide susidized butane cylinders as well.

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