Sohag residents persuaded to end sit-in blocking railway

High-ranking police officers in Sohag managed on Tuesday to convince residents of Bardis village to end a sit-in that had blocked railway lines for several hours in protest at the lack of butane gas cylinders in the area.

In negotiating with the protesters, the governorate’s security director promised to provide them with gas cylinders.

Sohag was the third governorate in Upper Egypt to witness sit-ins demanding the government increase the supply of butane.

In Sardis, the protesters had placed empty cylinders on railway tracks and shouted slogans against the governor. People in the village say that butane gas cylinders are scarce and are sold on the black market for LE40 each, nearly eight times the official price.

In November, battles over cylinders claimed at least two lives, with scores injured in various governorates.

On Monday, hundreds of citizens in Assiut Governorate blocked the agricultural road and the railway line to protest a lack of bread and butane cylinders.

Last week, workers in Minya blocked the railway lines to demand better job conditions and pensions.

Sit-ins blocking railways have been common since former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February. People see such actions as the only way to force authorities to meet their demands.

State owned Al-Gomhurriya newspaper on Tuesday quoted an official study conducted by Egyptian National Railways stating that protesters have blocked railways during 388 protests and 51 sit-ins between 25 January and November. The study said that total losses incurred by railway stoppages exceeded LE600 million.

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