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7 Major Reasons Why Egypt Is Protesting

UPDATE: The military has responded to public pressure and ousted Morsi. After one year in office, President Morsi faces the biggest protests of his tenure. Why?

On June 30, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi marked one year in power. In recognition of the occasion, Egypt saw its largest protests since the Tahrir Square demonstrations in 2011.

Here’s why people are protesting.

1. Unemployment is rising.

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In early 2013, the number of unemployed people in Egypt rose to 3.5 million (roughly 13.2% of Egypt’s labor force). That’s an increase from the 12.6% unemployment rate when Morsi took office in June 2012.

The kicker, though, is that 77% of those who are unemployed are between the ages of 15 and 29, which is contributing to a widespread unease within Egypt’s youth.

2. 99.3% of Egypt’s women have been sexually harassed.

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As of 2008, 83% of women had been sexually harassed (according to the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights).

As of 2013, the number rose to 99.3% in 2013, according to a U.N. Women report released in May. Nearly half of victims believed the problem has worsened since the 2011 revolution.

About 83% of the women surveyed said they do not feel safe in the street.

3. There’s lots of crime.

Since 2010, the overall crime rate has almost tripled.

More troubling for many Egyptians, though, are the types of crimes becoming increasingly prevalent; since 2010, armed robberies have increased more than tenfold, home invasions rose nearly 60%, and car thefts have tripled.

4. Fuel is super-expensive.

There’s a gas and diesel shortage in Egypt, and many gas stations are receiving less than half their normal amount of fuel. The shortage has reportedly created a black market in which one liter of diesel is sold for about double the usual price.

President Morsi’s administration has blamed the shortage on illegal smuggling.

5. There are rolling electrical blackouts.

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In May 2013, President Morsi said that due to outdated infrastructure, Egypt can only meet 80% of its electricity needs.

Rolling blackouts throughout the country are now the norm, though Morsi recently promised that he would only allow the power to be cut twice a day for two-hour periods. Blackouts were not as frequent during Mubarak’s rule.

6. Food is really expensive.

According to the World Food Progamme, the average Egyptian family spends around 40% of their income on food.

Since May 2012, food and beverage prices have soared 8.9%, and there are now breadlines outside the government-subsidized bakeries throughout the country.

7. Egypt’s stock market is at a five-year low.

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In mid-June 2013, trading in Egypt’s benchmark stock index hit a five-year low.

More info on Egypt’s political upheaval here.

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