The Egyptian authorities have quietly clamped down on the sales of reflective yellow vests fearing that they could prompt copycat protests inspired by the Gilets Jaunes demonstrations taking place in France. The measure was taken as a precaution as Egypt approaches the seventh anniversary next month of the revolution that toppled the dictator Hosni Mubarak after a 30-year rule. Any form of public gatherings are banned.
According to testimonies from industrial equipment dealers in Cairo, retailers have been instructed not to sell yellow vests to walk-in buyers and to restrict business to wholesale deals with verified companies, but only after obtaining permission from the security forces.
“They seem not to want anyone to do what they are doing in France,” said one retailer. Another added that, “The police came here a few days back and told us to stop selling them. When we asked why, they said they were acting on instructions.” Both spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity, for fear of reprisals from the authorities.
Security officials confirmed that the restrictions would remain in place until the end of January, but the Interior Ministry refused to comment on the issue. Over the past two years, hundreds of police officers and soldiers have been deployed across the country to quash any protests or commemorations of the revolution