CAIRO: Demonstrators condemned price rises during a protest organized by the freedoms committee of the Journalists Syndicate held on the syndicate s steps Thursday night.
On Monday a bill was passed which increased fuel prices and removed energy subsidies, in a step which analysts warn will exacerbate inflation and increase prices across the board.
Food prices have sharply increased in the past year, which, combined with international wheat shortages, has resulted in extreme economic hardship for the millions of Egyptians who live below the poverty line.
The roughly 70 demonstrators at the protest chanted World Bank conditions are responsible for this and This capitalist government is unjust to workers.
One protestor said she was there because it was her national duty to protest price increases.
Journalist and activist Abdel Halim Qandil said that real change will only occur with a change of regime.
Meaningful change will not come with a change of government. The whole regime must go. Nothing will happen as long as Mubarak is in power, he said.
Mubarak s rule is almost like an occupation. The events which happened in Mahalla were worse than what Israel does in the Occupied Territories, Qandil continued.
He pointed to the 30 percent increase in the wages of public sector employees announced last week, which was followed two days later by the price increases as evidence that the government fools people.
The security presence at the protest was relatively light. A small confrontation between members of security bodies and a protestor occurred when the latter began chanting down with Mubarak outside the security cordon of soldiers lining the syndicate s steps.
The protestor was bundled through the cordon by the police into the protest.
In addition to condemning price increases, protestors called for a minimum wage of LE 1,200 and the release of all political prisoners.