Police launch crackdown on street vendors in Cairo, governorates

Ahram Online, Friday 13 Jun 2014

Police clear streets of unauthorised vendors in Cairo and Alexandria, in an attempt to 'restore security'

Street Vendors
Interior Ministry removing goods of street vendors in Alexandria (Photo: Ati Metwali)

The interior ministry has launched a concerted campaign to remove unauthorised street vendors and their stalls from the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities.

The governor of Cairo, Galal Said, visited Ramsis Square in central Cairo on Thursday to track the campaign, and told state news agency MENA that all the illegal vendors had been removed from downtown Cairo and from the square.

On Friday, the number of vendors in key locations of the capital was noticeably less than on previous days, according to an Ahram Online reporter at the scene.

As part of a new campaign to restore security to Egypt`s streets, the interior ministry has said it plans to remove all illegal street vendors, intensify the presence of security forces, and ease traffic.

Giza’s governor, Ali Abdel-Rahman, is also working on removing vendors in the western parts of the capital, according to MENA.

Abdel-Rahman stressed that special forces who are well-trained to deal with the vendors are always present during the removal process in order to avoid any clashes.  

An Ahram Online reporter in Alexandria also witnessed the removal of illegal vendors in central parts of the city by the police on Thursday.

Vendors in the area argued with police, who were confiscating their goods, but no clashes were reported.

A magazine seller at the scene told Ahram Online that vendors have been obstructing traffic for more than three years.

'It`s better to remove them from the streets; however, I am worried about what will happen to them. They have families. They might turn into thieves,' said the magazine seller. 

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab told Al-Ahram Arabic that the interior ministry is planning to intensify security forces in the areas where the vendors were removed, in order to ensure that they don’t return to the same spots.

The growing number of vendors in Egypt’s busy streets since the 2011 revolution has caused tension, with many Egyptians blaming them for increasing the city's chronic traffic problems.

There have been repeated attempts to clear vendors from areas where they congregate such as Talaat Harb Street, 26 July Street and Ramsis Street in central Cairo. Police action has at times led to clashes and violence with the vendors, who say there are no legal alternative locations to set up their stalls.

MENA reported on Thursday that the governor of Gharbiya, Mohamed Naeem, had allocated LE1 million to create a new market space for street vendors in Al-Mahalla Al-Kobra city.

Additional reporting by Ati Metwalli. 

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