Eighteen injured in fights over diesel fuel and gas cylinders

Scuffles using melee weapons on Monday continued outside diesel fuel service stations and cooking-gas cylinder outlets as the fuel crisis continued nationwide for the second consecutive week.

The scuffles led to the injury of 13 people with bladed weapons and another five people with batons and firearms.

In Qafr al-Sheikh, the problem escalated with the beginning of the rice season, as rice production is a major industry in the governorate. Rice cultivation requires large quantities of diesel fuel in order to run irrigation stations.

As a result diesel fuel transfers for agricultural purposes, a number of service stations were shut down, while the remaining stations were plagued with long lines of cars, trailers and tractors, waiting to fill up on diesel fuel, day and night. The long lines disrupted traffic, as most service stations within the governorate are located on main roads.

In addition to the scuffles, taxi drivers in the governorate doubled their fares on the grounds that diesel fuel is being sold at prices higher than the official prices.

A number of bakeries closed, and state-owned vehicles that rely on pre-paid gas cards to fuel up at service stations stopped operating because stations refused to supply them with diesel fuel.

In Dakahlia, four workers were injured at a diesel fuel service station after a brawl broke when one citizen tried to cut in line. In another part of the governorate, five others were also wounded following a disagreement concerning the distribution of net profits from sales of diesel fuel on the black market. In Damietta four people were wounded in fights that took place at some gas stations that put up a “No diesel fuel” sign.

Meanwhile, Vice President of the General Authority for Petroleum Mohammed Shoaib said that the crisis had almost ended nationwide after the Petroleum Authority pumped huge amounts of diesel fuel into the market.

In Fayoum, one person was shot and three women were injured in a brawl over who had the priority in obtaining cooking-gas cylinders.

In Assiut, the director of the Dirout Supplies Administration received a serious head injury as a result of being hit by a citizen who refused to stand in line. Meanwhile, in Ismailia, citizens blocked the Sheikh Zayed Road for more than an hour, carrying empty cooking gas cylinders in protest at the lack of cylinders.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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