Nicosia, March 20 : Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, facing clashes and widespread discontent in the poorer neighbourhoods over the price of bread, has ordered the army bakeries to supply bread to the commercial market to stem shortages caused by corruption and rising international wheat prices.
Millions of Egyptians, who live below the poverty line, survive on subsidized bread, which is 12 times less expensive than that sold at commercial bakeries.
With the rising wheat prices, which have tripled since last summer, many people find it impossible to buy bread from commercial bakeries.
Long lines are formed in bakeries, which sell at subsidized prices, and numerous clashes have been reported outside bakeries, resulting in a number of deaths.
President Mubarak said that it was imperative to eradicate bread queues and ordered the Army and the Interior Ministry, which own numerous bakeries supplying bread to troops and the police to supply bread to citizens.
He also gave permission to use some foreign exchange reserves to buy additional wheat from the international market.
Apparently, President Mubarak does not forget that back in 1977 when President Anwar Sadat had attempted to lift bread subsidies, hundreds of thousands of protesters clashed with the police. There were widespread riots in the country and eventually Sadat was forced to retreat.