Egypt convicts food rioters

Mahalla protesters jailed for up to five years in surprise verdict.

    Police rounded up around 300 people during the riots, although most were freed without charge [Reuters]

    Al Jazeera's Amr El Kahky, reporting from outside the courtroom, said the verdicts came as a shock.

    "There is absolute anger and disbelief from the defendants and their families, along with the lawyers as well," he said.

    "When the judge started to read out the reasons behind the verdicts, [lawyers thought] he was reading a political communique to acquit them of any wrongdoing, such as plotting and masterminding the riots".

    Hundreds arrested

    The protesters were found guilty of criminal, and not political acts, he said.

    Protesters tore down a giant poster of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, during the riots and shouted anti-government slogans.

    Police arrested more than 300 people, although most were later released without charge.

    The government also sent ministers to Mahalla, promising higher salaries for public-sector industries.

    Much of the unrest has since diminished. The government's statistics agency says food prices have fallen in recent months.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.