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Sohag locals block temple to protest butane shortfall

Demonstrators block entrance of 19th dynasty temple to protest week-long local shortage of butane gas cylinders

Nevine El-Aref , Monday 5 Dec 2011
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Demonstrators in Egypt’s Upper Egyptian Sohag ‎governorate have stepped up their ongoing protest ‎against a local shortage of butane gas cylinders by ‎blocking the railroad line between Aswan and Cairo and ‎the entrance to the nearby Temple of Abydos.‎

Early on Monday, some 400 local residents of Balyana ‎village converged on the temple, blocking its entrance ‎and destroying a ticket kiosk. They held banners aloft ‎saying they planned to stay put until the government had ‎provided them with needed gas cylinders.‎

Village residents had complained all last week of a ‎severe local shortage of butane, which has caused black-‎market prices for cylinders to skyrocket to LE50 apiece ‎from their usual LE5.‎

In an attempt to protect the temple – a popular tourist ‎destination – Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) ‎officials have directed local police authorities to tighten ‎security around the monument and all nearby ‎archaeological sites. They have also reportedly asked the ‎governor of Sohag to try to convince protesters to ‎abandon their demonstration.‎

Built by 19th Dynasty King Seti I, the Great Temple of ‎Abydos contains a long list in hieroglyphic writing of ‎pharaohs from earlier dynasties. Known as the “Abydos ‎Kings List,” it includes the names of numerous Egyptian ‎pharaohs going all the way back to the First Dynasty.‎

The back of the temple contains an enigmatic structure, ‎known as The “Osirion,” believed to have been connected ‎with the worship of the god Osiris.‎

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