Residents of Egypt's Damietta protest frequent power outages

Ahram Online , Thursday 23 May 2013

Dozens take to streets in Egyptian port city of Damietta to protest intermittent electricity cuts, criticise performance of President Morsi after almost one year in office

Damietta experiences power cuts (Photo: Reuters)

The Egyptian port city of Damietta saw a number of protests on Thursday, as angry residents registered their objection to frequent electricity and water cuts in recent weeks.

Dozens of residents – along with workers from local hotels, cafeterias and supermarkets – took to the streets to protest the intermittent outages, which have led to the temporary closure of the city's main electricity company and main security directorate.

Protesters also played a satirical song criticising the performance of President Mohamed Morsi during his almost one year in office, Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website reported.

In some cases, limited scuffles broke out between protesters and onlookers.

Residents of several outlying villages – including Al-Sayala, Al-Ananeya and Al-Matary, among others – blocked the main roads to local electricity companies with burning tyres.

Locals were reportedly particularly angered by continuous power cuts on Thursday, the day on which locally-produced furniture – Damietta's flagship manufacture – is shipped to various supply centres and retail outlets.

Egyptians countrywide have recently suffered a spate of intermittent daytime blackouts, the result of an electricity ministry plan to conserve power during Egypt's hottest months from May to August.

On Tuesday, the ministry apologised for recent power outages, which the ministry attributed to ongoing fuel shortages. In an official statement, the ministry ascribed the electricity cuts to "fuel shortages that have made it difficult for allocated generators to keep up with mounting consumption."

As a means of protesting the power cuts, a number of Egyptians have reportedly begun contemplating a campaign urging Egyptians not to pay their electricity bills.      

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