Cairo slum residents stage protest

Demonstrators say government left them in the street after fire wrecked their homes.

    Some months ago, a fire destroyed the homes of
    250 families in the slum area of Qalat al-Kabsh

    Some months ago, a fire destroyed the homes of 250 families in the slum area of Qalat al-Kabsh, one of 76 slums in Cairo.
     
    Residents said the authorities promised to help them and took them by car to what they were told would be their new homes, but then left them by the side of the road.
     
    "They [the authorities] have thrown us out in the street and did not give us our rights," said one woman. Another woman said: "Our names and our husbands' names were taken. We are afraid that our husbands would be imprisoned."
     
    Bribery alleged
     
    The protesters told Al Jazeera that housing was only being given to those who bribe officials and that they had been asked to pay to have their names added to the list of those who needed accommodation.
     
    "God will punish this government. They had our names listed but then they gave the houses to others, asking us to pay 5,000, 7,000 or 8,000 Egyptian pounds," one of the residents said.
     
    "We do not have money to pay. What shall we do? Sell our children and ourselves to the government so we would be able to pay 5000 or 8000?"
     
    The Egyptian government has not commented over the issue, but Egyptian media showed images of a small number of people who had been given state compensation.
     
    Hussain Abdul Ghani, reporting for Al Jazeera from Egypt, said that most had not received compensation. Egyptian human-rights groups have criticised the authorities over the situation.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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