Egyptians protest power outages, block key highway

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 18, 2010 23:54

 
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CAIRO  — Crowds of Egyptians angered by daily power outages at the height of a scorching summer blocked a major highway south of Cairo Wednesday with barricades of burning tires.

The electricity cuts affected Egyptians from the Nile Delta in the north to the ancient temple city of Luxor in the south during a month of daytime fasting for Muslims. The outages also focused anger toward the government, which has already come under fire this year for inflation and shortages of cooking gas and bread.

It took authorities an hour to disperse the protesters, who had shut down a section of the main highway connecting Egypt's north and south in the oasis province of Fayoum, a security official said.

The electricity cuts began in early August and are especially punishing for Egyptian Muslims left without air conditioning while fasting during daylight hours for the holy month of Ramadan — including abstaining from water — as temperatures top 100 degrees (38 Celsius).

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