Egypt food riots

This item appears on page 18 of the June 2008 issue.

For decades, Egypt has provided its citizens subsidies for gasoline and public transportation and, for the poor, food staples as well as a type of flat, round bread. Unsubsidized bread can cost 10 to 12 times the subsidized price of less than one cent.

Recently, high food prices and the unavailability of staples such as rice, flour, sugar and cooking oil have led to long lines and waits of hours for the bread, with violence breaking out at some sites in poor neighborhoods. In early March there were riots involving thousands of people, and at least 10 people died.

President Mubarak ordered the army to increase its production of bread.