Egypt Watch

Military prosecution imprisons 42 protesters in Alexandria

The Military Prosecution in Egypt has imprisoned 42 residents of Maawa al-Sayadeen (Fishermen Shelter), to the west of Alexandria Governorate for a period of four days, pending investigations, on charges of “demonstrating, gathering, and assaulting the army forces and police.” The security forces arrested 65 women and men from the impoverished quarter, directing the women to the Mina al-Basal Police Station. They were was subsequently released, while the men were taken to the Central Security camp in Margham (in Alexandria), until the military prosecution issued that decision.

Arresting those people came after their protests with other residents of Maawa al-Sayadeen on Friday, against their displacement and moving them to Bashair al-Khair where the rent is expensive. The government failed to fulfill its promise to give them alternative apartments. The protesters chanted slogans demanding that their homes not be demolished, and they held banners affirming the legitimacy of their demands.

The security forces beat the protesters with batons and threw tear gas from close range, about half a metre, causing the death of a four-day-old baby girl, according to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF). The argument between the authorities and the residents of this neighbourhood date back to late 2017, when the government asked them to be transferred to Bashayer al-Khair housing, and according to the government’s agreement with them at the time, anyone who owns a house or apartment will move to a condominium apartment, and whoever is renting will pay about EGP 300 ($18.78).

The government then retracted this offer and said that the population is illegal and the land is owned by the state even though the population has lived there since the 1960s and most of the residents were born there and lived there for decades.

The Egyptian government says that these measures are part of implementing a plan that it says is aimed at removing and clearing slums in several governorates.