Egyptian Bedouin disrupt production at Sinai Cement
Sinai Cement, a unit of France's Vicat, has been forced to shut down production in northern Sinai. The forced shut down is due to the Bedouin who are demanding compensation for land that was seized from them. Hassan Rateb, Chairman, Sinai Cement said the protesters were merely seeking better benefits, without elaborating. The Bedouin, who have stopped the plant's production lines accused Sinai Cement of taking land without adequate compensation and of dumping toxic waste on other land and pastures. The Bedouin wanted the complaints against Sinai Cement and its chairman be resolved by customary Sinai Bedouin law instead of Egyptian government judiciary. Rateb said he was not a party in the dispute and that a minority of Bedouin was trying to exploit the country's lack of security after Hosni Mubarak was ousted from the presidency. "A few entered the factory without harming any of the workers inside, and production stopped. They are not against Sinai Cement, they just want to exploit the situation of the state and get more benefits," Rateb said. He added the government had leased the Sinai Cement land for 15 years. "As for production remains, they are not toxic, they are by-pass that is either buried underground or used for paving roads." Sinai Cement has a production capacity of about 3 million tonne per annum.