10 arrested at Cairo metro over rare Egypt protest

People travel on overcrowded trains in Cairo, Egypt.
People travel on overcrowded trains in Cairo, Egypt.PHOTO: REUTERS

CAIRO (AFP) - Egyptian police arrested 10 people on Saturday (May 12) over a rare protest in the capital Cairo against increased metro prices, a security official said.

The incident took place after authorities announced late on Thursday the metro ticket price would be increased the following day.

A security official said those arrested were facing charges of entering the metro without paying, preventing a train from moving, and illegal assembly.

Several videos posted online on Saturday showed commuters forcing a train's doors to remain open to stop it from moving, as they complained about soaring prices, and in another some people appeared to be getting arrested.

The authenticity of the videos posted online could not be immediately verified.

Friday's price hikes saw a unified two-pound (15 Singapore cents) metro ticket replaced with three classes of tickets ranging from three to seven pounds depending on the journey distance.

Those arrested are due to appear before prosecutors on Saturday evening, the official said.

Protests have been rare in Egypt since authorities in November 2013 issued a law banning public gatherings not pre-authorised by the interior ministry.

Egyptians have been hard hit by austerity measures introduced as part of sweeping economic reforms, which were put in place under a US$12 billion (S$16 billion) loan deal with the International Monetary Fund.

The authorities implemented a value-added tax, cut fuel subsidies and increased electricity prices, and floated the currency which prompted its value to plummet.

These measures boosted the annual inflation rate to a peak of 33 per cent in July, before it began easing.