Middle East

Betraying the Arab Spring (Slum Clearance Edition)

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The Egyptian counterrevolution could claim some victims soon in Cairo's central slum:

Rich hood, poor hood.

A few years ago, [neighborhood resident Hammad Arabi] says, businessman Naguib Sawiris was offering between LE3,000 and LE6,000 a square meter, but residents wouldn't accept the deal. They are well aware of the land's real value, and know that unless they get it, they won't be able to move even remotely nearby. Many residents are able to produce very old documents indicating ownership or prove that they have established rights to be there.

But, days after the dissolution of Parliament, departure from the shacks seems to be mandatory. The Cairo Governorate issued a decree that ordered police to evict the shack-dwellers from their homes. There is no indication, as yet, of how residents may be re-housed, although Heba Khalil of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights believes there will be an attempt to relocate residents to the remote outskirts of the city.

"It's normal that they wouldn't tell the people in advance of the eviction. They don't get asked where they want to go. Once such an order is in place, the police could turn up any day, and that's it." In the past, such evictions have taken place within a month of the order being issued, but the current volatile circumstances may delay its implementation.