Food riots increase worldwide

“The new face of hunger” is what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called the recent food crisis. Its main feature is not scarcity but urban masses who can’t afford food anymore due to the spectacular price-rise. Consequence: social unrest, aggression, riots.
The situation exploded a first time in October 07, when in the Indian state West-Bengal an enraged mob burned down rationed stores. One month later in Dakar, capital of Senegal, hundreds of youths protested against high prices, smashing windows, burning tyres. February this year, riots broke out in Burkina Faso: shops were looted, government buildings burned down. About the same time in Cameroon, a strike of taxidrivers grew into protests against high food prices, resulting in 24 people dead, more than 1600 demonstrators arrested. In Morocco 34 people were arrested for participating to similar demonstrations.
In Yemen the price of bread and other foodware have double the last four months, provoking riots that killed at least 12 people. Indonesia was forced to increase foodsubsidies with one third to avoid violence. Joachim von Braun, Director-General of the International Food Policy Research Institute, says it’s a ‘serious question of security’. Last year already, Gian Carlo Cirri,  director of the UN-World Food Programme in Senegal, warned that 2008 would be a very dangerous year. The constant price-rise is increasingly hitting the urban middle classes, who go out in the streets to demonstrate and by their great number are jeopardizing political and social stability.

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