Security forces fired gas bombs at the people of the Maawa al-Sayadeen in Alexandria Governorate (North), and arrested dozens of them, after they protested against the government’s decision to demolish their homes in the frame of governmental plans to remove slums.
The residents of the area organised protests rejecting the decision to demolish their homes, chanting the slogans, “We will not leave [our homes]”, and “we will not go”. This protest comes while the Egyptian government is implementing a plan that claims that its goal is to eliminate and cleanse slums in several governorates. Authorities are talking about a major project to build thousands of housing units in the area of Maawa al-Sayadeen.
The project is called Bashayer al-Khair, and it includes 11,000 residential units and three service areas that include an educational facility, a hospital, two mosques with an area of 800 metres, four small mosques, an 800 metre church, a youth centre, a bank, a post office, and a commercial, administrative and recreational activities area.
The construction of the “Shelter of Fishermen” area dates back to 1963, and it was classified as an unplanned random area according to the classification of Alexandria Governorate and the Ministry of Local Development. It is noteworthy that the Egyptian authorities recently removed several buildings and residential towers in Greater Cairo, for reasons including building without a licence or infringing on the public domain.
However, government plans were met with widespread doubts from residents who consider that the aim is not to remove slums and provide better housing for them, but to implement investment plans that benefit the regime at the expense of their ownership of these important areas, as happened in areas in Cairo on the Nile Corniche.