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Thousands protest deteriorating sewage system in Alexandria

Political forces join Alexandria's slum-dwelling residents to demonstrate against negligence by sewage authority after numerous complaints ignored and homes flooded following torrential rain

Ahram Online, Wednesday 9 Jan 2013
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Thousands of inhabitants of Alexandria's slums protested against their living conditions Wednesday afternoon in front of the city's Holding Authority for Water and Waste Water offices in the El-Shobty neighbourhood, reported Al-Ahram Arabic Language news website.

Members of political forces including the April 6 Youth group and the Kefaya protest movement joined hundreds of citizens from Alexandria neighbourhoods of El-Agamy, Sidi Gaber, Bab Sharqi and Abu Suleiman, to protest the Holding Authority's failure to effectively conduct maintenance throughout the city as well as their neglect of the informal settlements.

Protesters mocked the El-Nahda (renaissance) project, a plan of reforms for the country launched by the Muslim Brotherhood and promoted by President Mohamed Morsi, chanting, "Enough with the renaissance, enough. Alexandria is gone not coming" and "One, two, where did the renaissance go?"

The demonstration initially began Tuesday night as protestors closed streets in an attempt to draw attention to their homes flooded with sewage water as a result of the breakdown in the country's sewage networks.

A severe shortage of affordable housing has forced impoverished inhabitants of Egypt's second city to live in inhumane conditions: the small shacks of Alexandria's slums are barely big enough to house the families.

Muhammed Abdel-Hakim, a resident of the Abu Suleiman neighbourhood, told Al-Ahram that the director of the sewage authority should be removed from his position, as he ignored complaints made by Hakim and a number of the other slum residents.

According to Hakim, the Holding Authority's secretary did not allow them to meet the chief and their numerous complaints were met with no response.

Speaking to Al-Ahram, another resident Fouad Mahmoud, who lives in Ezbet El-Mattar in the Sidi Gaber neighborhood, said that the streets around his home had become ponds where people can access their homes.

No government official has given any attention to the issue, Mahmoud added, despite the fact that he together with his neighbours had submitted several complaints to the offices of the governor and the deputy governor.

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