Residents of the Maspero Triangle area showed deep concern about the possible demolition of their houses amid unclear statements from officials about demolitions in areas of informal housing.
The residents will address the issue in a press conference Sunday.
According to one of the district’s citizens, the area is home to around 14,000 residents and is comprised of 30 informal housing units.
On 29 February, a police force demolished one house citing a court verdict in 1999. They then told residents that they are coming later to demolish more homes.
The Ministry of Interior was contacted Saturday and said that demolitions are carried out by the orders of local authorities and officials in the Boulaq neighbourhood.
The residents considered the random demolitions process as a government “set up”, accusing it of selling the areas to local and foreign investors.
According to the residents, in 2014 then prime minister Ibrahim Mehleb vowed to stop all demolitions and temporarily relocate the residents into another area until all “developmental activities” are completed.
Mehleb signed an initial agreement on the development of the Maspero area following six months of negotiations, the residents added.
The agreement, the residents said, should have included the government as well as the people of the area, investors, and owners.
The terms of the initial agreement include property development in Maspero through the redistribution of property. The project depended on the establishment of “a large service area in the space between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, overlooking the Nile Corniche, and the Maspero building of the Egyptian Television Network. The remaining area will be for the purpose of real estate, as well as cultural and entertainment investments”.
Former minister of urban development Laila Iskander previously said the project was part of the “the state’s plan to improve the living standards of poor and marginalised group”.
Cairo governor Galal Al-Saeed said the government is working on notifying the residents with the dates to provide their documents, to enumerate the population of the region, and their properties.
However, the residents said the demolitions are taking place randomly.
The Socialist Popular Alliance Party said Friday that it supports the civilians in the area, and stands in solidarity with their demands. The party asked the residents of the area to not take any promises from the Cairo governor for granted.
The party demanded the Egyptian government “respect human rights and the rights of citizens to live”, asking the police to stop “terrorising citizens and raiding their houses”.
The socialist party ended the statement saying: “Why did you [the Cairo governor and the head of the Boulaq neighbourhood] decide to take the side of the investors?”
The Maspero area, located in the west of Boulaq neighbourhood, is in the form of a triangle between Al-Galaa Street, the Nile Corniche, and 26th of July Bridge. It is comprised of about 72 acres, 68% of which is informal housing, according to statements from the Cairo governorate.
The dispute between residents and businesses in Maspero has been ongoing for many years due to the overlap of ownership.