INTRODUCTION: Egypt is counting the cost of two days of food riots across the nation -- in which up to 65 people were killed and more than two thousand arrested.
GV ZOOM IN: Pyramids Road, Cairo, with pyramids in distance.
LV ZOOM IN: Opera Square with film theatre exterior damaged.
SVs and MVs: damage and rubble in streets and buildings. (4 shots)
SV and CU: burnt-out bus with smoking tyres. (2 shots)
SV AND CU EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR: wrecked "Auberge" nightclub with people salvaging bottles of drink. (2 shots)
SV AND CUs EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR: El-Layel night club showing extensive Fire-damaged rooms and facade, and workmen inside salvaging bottles. (5 shots)
SV PULL BACK TO MVs: damage to railway-line fence and burnt-out railway carriage. (? shots)
SV: men sweeping rubble from street.
LV EXTERIOR: people's Assembly building.
SV INTERIOR PAN: Assembly Budge and Planning Committee in session.
SV: committee Chief Dr. Ahmed Abu Ismail (centre) addressing gathering with, on his right, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Moniem Elkaysouni listening.
CU: Elkaysouni listening.
SV; Committee in session.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Egypt is counting the cost of two days of food riots across the nation -- in which up to 65 people were killed and more than two thousand arrested. Countless millions of pounds worth of damaged has been caused by arson, looting and wrecking.
SYNOPSIS: In Cairo, the fashionable Pyramids Avenue was a target for mobs angry at government plans to increase food, cooking-gas and petrol prices. Cinemas and nightclubs in the Egyptian capital's wealthy playground area were prime targets for arsonists and looters. In the rioting, during which public transport came to a halt, buses and trucks were seized. They were either used as transport to carry rioters into the city centre, or set alight and used as street barricades to fight off police.
The fighting lasted into the early hours of Thursday (20 January) morning. The day saw nightclub owners and shopkeepers salvaging what they could from the wreckage of their burned-out and looted premises. Hundreds of workers began clearing the streets of broken glass, shop rubble, and stones used as ammunition. The rioters also burned down several government buildings, and set fire to the Headquarters of the ruling Arab Socialist Union - until last year the country's only political party.
Similar scenes took place in cities and towns across the nation. A dusk to dawn curfew was imposed on most towns -- but later restricted to Cairo and Alexandria. The last Cairo curfew was twenty years ago.
President Anwar Sadat has ordered the latest increases to be suspended -- but a the same time accused 'communists' of causing the trouble. Most of Egypt's 40 million people live on or below subsistence level.
The government has now appealed for international aid to help Egypt overcome its economic problems, which led to the latest situation. In the People's Assembly -- Parliament -- the Budget and Planning Committee met in urgent session on Thursday. It decided to call on the International Monetary Fund, the United States, Europe, Arab oil countries, and Egyptians living abroad to contribute towards solving the country's economic difficulties. The Committee said Egypt, which lost about 40 billion (U.S) dollars (about GBP25 billion sterling) in wars with Israel, now needs 1.6 billion dollars (nearly one billion sterling) in financial aid this year.