Sunday, April 06, 2008

Mahalla El-Kobra, Egypt — Thousands of demonstrators angry about rising prices and stagnant salaries torched buildings, looted shops and hurled bricks at police who responded with tear gas Sunday in a northern industrial town as Egyptians staged a nationwide strike. Riots broke out among residents and workers at the largest textile factory in Egypt as security forces interfered with workers' plans to participate in the strike. Protesters stormed city hall, burned tires in the streets, smashed chairs through shop windows and ran off with computers. At least two schools were set ablaze and facades of banks were vandalized, police said. Elsewhere across Egypt, thousands skipped work and school and hundreds protested over the rising cost of food and deteriorating working conditions.

In Olympic resistance news, demonstrators against repression and occupation in Tibet repeatedly disrupted the movement of the Olympic torch through London, including one attempt to put it out with a fire extinguisher. Police and security personnel made unscheduled detours including covering part of the route by bus.