More metro protesters detained in Egypt


Egypt’s state security prosecutor ordered the detention of 20 people for 15 days pending an investigation into protests at Cairo metro stations last week after fares were raised, state news MENA reported.

There were small but rare protests at metro stations across Cairo on Saturday when fares more than tripled for some commuters as government tightens spending and implements measures to achieve IMF-backed economic reforms.

Cairo deployed heavy security around stations to prevent further unrest.

The metro system has accumulated losses of 618.6 million pounds, according to MENA.

On Sunday, a public prosecutor ordered 10 people accused of demonstrating to remain in custody for four days pending investigations into illegal protesting.

Monday’s state security order brought the number of people jailed so far as part of the metro protests to 30.

The state security prosecutor is investigating 20 individuals for working with an organisation “established outside the provisions of the law,” according to MENA, a likely reference to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which some government officials blame for the demonstrations.

Protests are rare in Egypt since a law passed in 2013 banned demonstrations not approved by the Interior Ministry, taking away a right earned in the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat President Hosni Mubarak.

A charge of illegally protesting can carry a prison sentence of up to five years.

Government said higher fares were needed to keep the metro running and to finance extensions to serve more of the capital city’s 25 million people. More than three million people use the metro daily.