Egypt turmoil hits Cairo nightlife

Wed Apr 6, 2011 8:26am EDT
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By Sarah Mikhail

CAIRO (Reuters) - After hours spinning the latest hip-hop and trance hits, DJ Sugar loses enthusiasm, turns off the music and surveys a nightclub dance floor that has been bare for weeks.

Egypt's political turmoil has dealt a blow to nightlife in Cairo, an outwardly conservative city with a vibrant subculture of bars, nightclubs, belly dancers and all-night weddings.

"The revolution has spoiled the party," said DJ Sugar. "Many expats have left and Egyptians are spending their money on just bare necessities."

The army forbade travel after dark on January 28 as protests against President Hosni Mubarak gathered pace. When police deserted the streets and thousands of prison inmates were set free in mysterious circumstances, residents locked their doors.

Almost two months on, the curfew has been shortened to three hours -- from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. -- but few Cairenes seem to be in party mood.

The revolutionary euphoria that brought millions onto the streets has given way to worries about money and jobs.

The economy is reeling and the government has slashed its forecasts for growth after weeks of strikes, disruption in industry, a drop in investment and an exodus of tourists.

Some foreigners who heeded embassy travel warnings and fled Egypt have not yet returned.   Continued...

<p>The sun sets over Cairo February 8, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez</p>