Officials and retailers revealed to the Associated Press (AP) on 10 December that Egyptian authorities have ordered them to restrict the sale of the yellow vests fearing that Egyptian protesters might copy the French’s ‘gilets jaunes’ protests in light of the eighth anniversary of the 2011 spring.
According to AP, the officials informed the safety equipment resellers to limit the sales of their yellow reflective vests to verified firms with the proper security permissions. The dealers were also advised not to sell their vests to walk-in clients and buyers and have been warned that perpetrator would be punished.
The AP journalist tried to buy the yellow vests from 12 different safety equipment stores in Downtown Cairo. However, six said that they no longer sell the vests, two refused to sell the available product for no reason and four said that they were told not to sell the vests by authorities.
One seller told AP that “they seem not to want anyone to do what they are doing in France.” Another seller said that authorities came to the store and forbade them from selling the yellow vests and when questioned, the policemen said that they were following orders.
These restrictions on the sales of the yellow vests will remain until the end of January security, officials emphasized. The police authorities gathered industrial safety product importers and wholesale retailer earlier this week to brief them on the new guidelines.
BBC Arabic reported that Egyptian activists and lawyers announced the arrest of Egyptian lawyer Mohammed Ramadan on Monday after posting on Facebook ridiculing reports that shop owners were barred from selling yellow vests to citizens.
According to Ramadan’s lawyer Abdul Rahman Al-Gohari, Ramadan was arrested on a street in the coastal city of Alexandria and authorities say he was possessed five yellow vests.
Egyptian lawyer Mahienour El-Massry said “Mohammed Ramadan is in the prosecution and the investigation is yet to start but it appears to be because of the yellow vest. This is what the police officer that arrested him said. We are still awaiting to see what the prosecution will charge him with.”
Al-Gohari revealed that Ramadan is facing charges including incitement to demonstrate, disrupting public peace, and abusing of social media. Egyptian activists expressed their outrage on social media upon hearing the news.
اذا كانت #السترات_الصفراء تقلقكم لهذا الحد..
فلما لا تبادرون بحلول تقلل من معاناة الناس؟
-خلل الرواتب ومستوى الدخول
-حق الشعب برؤية إيرادات الدولة وكيف التصرف بها
-إنهاء اقتصاد موازي ينخر بعظام #مصر
ام الأهم حصن تشيدونه لن يجدي إذا قرار الشعب الخروج بسترات او بدونها
— Mohamed MAHSOOB (@MohammedMAHSOOB) December 11, 2018
“In our country, if the # yellow_jackets are worrying you so much about you, then why not you build an institution that reduces the suffering of people? Imbalance salaries and income, it is the people’s right to see the revenues of the state and the revenue is being spent, ending the parallel economy that has been eating Egypt’s bones, but most importantly, the fortress they build it will not be useful where the people decide to go out or not,” Egypt’s former Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mohamed Mahsoob said on Twitter.
Last month, protesters in France took the liberty of wearing the yellow vests, which later became symbolic in a series of demonstrations objecting the increase in fuel taxes.