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The Info List - 1977 Egyptian Bread Riots


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THE EGYPTIAN "BREAD RIOTS" OF 1977 affected most major cities in Egypt
Egypt
from 18–19 January 1977. The riots were a spontaneous uprising by hundreds of thousands of lower-class people protesting World Bank and International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
-mandated termination of state subsidies on basic foodstuffs. As many as seventy-nine people were killed and over 550 injured in the protests, which were only ended with the deployment of the army and the re-institution of the subsidies.

CONTENTS

* 1 Lead up to riots * 2 Food riots * 3 See also * 4 References

LEAD UP TO RIOTS

The riots' origin lay in president Anwar Sadat 's Infitah (openness) policy, which had, since he took power at the beginning of the decade, sought to liberalise the economy. In 1976, he sought loans from the World Bank in an effort to relieve the country's debt burden. The bank criticised the state's policy of subsidising basic foodstuffs, and Sadat announced in January 1977 that it was ending subsidies on flour, rice, and cooking oil and that it would cancel state employee bonuses and pay increases. The new policies resulted in a rise in the price of food by up to 50%.

FOOD RIOTS

Popular rejection of the announcement was not long in coming: On 18 and 19 January, rioting by lower-class people who would have been hardest hit by the cancellation of the subsidies erupted across the country, from Aswan in lower Egypt
Egypt
to Alexandria
Alexandria
. For two days, rioters attacked targets that symbolised the prosperity of the middle class and the corruption of the regime, shouting slogans like, "Ya baṭal el-'obūr, fēn el-fotūr?" ("Hero of the Crossing , where is our breakfast?") and "Thieves of the Infitah, the people are famished." There were also shouts of "Nasser, Nasser," in reference to Sadat's predecessor, Gamal Abdel Nasser . The rioting ended when the state abruptly cancelled the new policies. 79 people died in the riots, 556 were injured, and over 1,000 people were arrested.

The riots had a strong impact upon the Egyptian government's subsequent willingness to enact unpopular economic policies. After the riots, according to David Seddon, the Egyptian government was "extremely cautious of provoking popular protest and political unrest through the introduction of drastic austerity measures, and it approached the IMF proposals with care." Though Egypt
Egypt
signed an Extended Fund Facility in 1978, the government's failure to adhere to IMF-imposed policy conditions resulted in only a small amount of funds being released. Not until it had paid back most of its debt to the IMF in 1987 did Egypt
Egypt
return to the IMF for a one-year arrangement.

SEE ALSO

* Egypt
Egypt
portal * Sociology portal * History portal * Food portal

* List of modern conflicts in the Middle East * 1986 Egyptian Conscription Riot * 2008 Egyptian general strike * Egyptian Revolution of 2011 * List of food riots * Food riots in the Middle East

REFERENCES

* ^ "Egyptians hit Soviet reaction". Bangor Daily News. 24 January 1977. Retrieved 29 April 2013. * ^ "Egyptians hit Soviet reaction". Bangor Daily News. 24 January 1977. Retrieved 29 April 2013. * ^ AFP (21 January 2007). "30 years after bread riots, Egypt reform moves forward", Daily News Egypt. Retrieved on 17 July 2008. * ^ "Egyptians hit Soviet reaction". Bangor Daily News. 24 January 1977. Retrieved 29 April 2013. * ^ Seddon, David (1990). "The Politics of Adjustment: Egypt
Egypt
and the IMF, 1987–1990". Review of African Political Economy (47): 95. JSTOR 4006040 . * ^ Zaki, Mokhlis (2001). "IMF-Stabilization programs and their Critics: Evidence from the Recent Experience of Egypt". World Development. 11 (11): 1867–1883. doi :10.1016/s0305-750x(01)00074-2 .

* v * t * e

Major revolts and riots in modern Egypt
Egypt

MAJOR EVENTS BEFORE 2010

* ‘Urabi Revolt (1879–1882) * Egyptian revolution of 1919 * Helwan riots (1945) * 1945 Anti-Jewish riots in Egypt
Egypt
* Cairo fire (1952) * Egyptian revolution of 1952 * Corrective Revolution (1971) * 1977 Egyptian bread riots * 1986 Egyptian conscripts riot * 2000 Kosheh lynchings * 2005 Alexandria
Alexandria
riot * 2008 Egyptian general strike

EGYPTIAN CRISIS (2010S)

* Egyptian revolution of 2011 * 2011 Maspero demonstrations * Sinai insurgency (2011–present) * 2012–13 Egyptian protests * 2013 Egyptian coup d\'état * Post-coup unrest in Egypt
Egypt
(2013–2014) * Insurgency in Egypt
Egypt
(2013–present)

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