Egypt restricts sales of yellow vests to stop protests

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Yellow vest protesters in The Hague, the NetherlandsImage source, EPA
Image caption,
Demonstrators in Belgium and the Netherlands have also adopted the yellow vest

Egypt has restricted the sale of yellow vests ahead of the anniversary of the 2011 uprising, to stop demonstrators copying French protesters.

Safety equipment dealers can only sell the vests wholesale to verified companies that have gained police approval, retailers said.

Officials have asked shopkeepers to report anyone trying to buy the clothing.

French protesters donned the vests in anti-government demonstrations.

Originally objecting to a proposed fuel tax rise, protesters soon reflected a wider discontent about President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies.

Protesters outside France, including in Belgium and the Netherlands, have also adopted the clothing, while British news site The Independent reports a "red vest" movement has been launched in Tunisia.

Image source, AFP/Getty
Image caption,
All French drivers must legally carry the vests in their cars, leading demonstrators to wear them to protest against a proposed fuel tax rise

Egyptian state media has stressed the violence of the French movement to scare any potential copycat demonstrators.

The revolution that toppled former leader Hosni Mubarak began on 25 January 2011, and authorities fear protesters could try to mark the date as they have in previous years.

One man, Mohamed Ramadan, has been detained for 15 days and accused with disrupting public order and possessing yellow vests after making light of the restrictions in a Facebook post, his lawyer said.

Meanwhile, some shopkeepers were made to sign a paper promising not to sell the clothing.

The sale restrictions will be in force until the end of January.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been accused of trying to crush all political dissent in Egypt

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was sworn into office for a second term in June, vowing to stop "violence, terrorism and extremism".

But human rights groups have accused him of trying to crush all political dissent in Egypt.