Despite its deteriorating economic conditions, Egypt spent almost $2.6 million on 140,000 U.S.-sourced teargas canisters last January in a bid to face protests that erupted across the country against President Mohammed Mursi and the government.
Egypt’s interior ministry ordered the amount by the end of January, reported The Guardian, referring to an earlier report by the Egyptian daily newspaper al-Masry al-Youm.
Opposition activists in Egypt questioned the government’s ability to purchase teargas at a time where the country’s foreign reserves “have more than halved since 2011,” in addition to being unable to pay for fuel subsidies, reported the Guardian.
During the recent protests, cases of Egyptian police brutality against the protesters brought back images of the 2011 uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, in which his reign was marked with oppression.
Activists quoted by The Guardian said the amount of violence seen in the last few weeks mark a “a return to Mubarak-era state repression.”
“It’s the same tactics the Mubarak regime used – spending taxpayers’ money to kill the sons of taxpayers,” said Hussein Abdel Ghany, a spokesman for the National Salvation Front, a disparate collection of non-Islamist opposition parties, as quoted by the newspaper.
“And at the same time they’re cutting gas subsidies and raising taxes on cigarettes, which the only way some people get any joy,” he added.
Mursi has vowed to put efforts into revitalizing the country’s economy and creating more market opportunities.
However, Egypt is still struggling to face its economic challenges and is working with the IMF to receive a “much-needed” and a “much delayed” loan worth $4.8 billion.