Protesters block railway (Photo: Al-Ahram archive)
Trains between Cairo and Alexandria and road traffic on the Agricultural Road linking the two cities were brought to a complete stand-still on Wednesday morning by around 700 workers in the clay-brick manufacturing sector.
The protesters, from various brick-producing towns in the Beheira governorate, blocked the highway in front of the town of Tawfiqia, completely stopping traffic in both directions, and blocked the railway tracks at Kafr El-Megahed, halting train transport.
The workers were protesting what they claim to be a two month-long shortage of mazut, the fuel used to operate brick furnaces.
A source from Egypt's Railway Authorities told Ahram Online that the protests included factory owners angry at recent fuel price hikes. "They are protesting the price raise for mazut and other fuels," explained the source.
On Tuesday Egypt's government announced new fuel prices for many sectors of the economy, which industry sources claimed were 50 percent higher than previous levels.
The announcement immediately triggered protests by factory owners affected by the increase. Roads were blocked in Cairo and Minya, south of the capital, on Tuesday evening.