Egypt truck protest over HGV ban turns violent


A strike by Egyptian truck owners has turned violent and is causing long delays on roads in parts of the country, police sources and witnesses said today.

Police have detained 35 truck drivers in the Nile Delta province of Gharbia and police fired teargas to disperse protesters who marched to the law courts in an attempt to free them by force, the sources said.

The protesters damaged some cars and minibuses during the march, they added. In other parts of the province police detained 11 truck drivers and owners on suspicion that they threw stones at trucks which are not taking part in the strike, they said.

On one road near the southern city of Assiut, protesting truck owners held up traffic for hours, they added. The strike is in protest at new regulations banning articulated vehicles, purportedly to prevent accidents, starting in about 18 months.

The owners say they will lose large amounts of money and some of their equipment will be worthless. The strike has pushed up the prices of building materials because of higher transport costs.

The price of cement has risen to 950 pounds ($171) a tonne from 520 pounds, merchants in Gharbia province said. A truck owner in the Nile Delta province of Menufia, who asked not to be named, said police were visiting truck owners at home and putting pressure on them to resume work. They have threatened some owners with detention and have given others tickets for obstructing the highways, owners said.