Security campaign to evacuate Cairo street vendors faces complications
Ahram Online, Monday 25 Aug 2014

Tens of street vendors protested a government plan to relocate sellers to Torgoman parking lot outside the High Court in Ramsis on Monday complaining that it does not have sufficient space for them.

The relocation campaign has continued for the second consecutive day on Monday as security forces continue to evacuate vendors from the streets of downtown Cairo.

Security efforts to relocate vendors faced some initial opposition on Sunday when many attempted to return to their previous locations, Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website reported.

Yassin Abdel-Bary, the head of the west Cairo municipality told the Arabic website on Monday that the security campaigns would continue to make sure that the street vendors would not return.

Abdel-Bary stated that 365 street vendors received their cards for their new spaces at the parking lot at Torgoman bus station and that additional vendors received spaces upon arrival. He also added that there were nearly 563 street vendors in west Cairo district.

Abdel-Bary stressed that transferring the street vendors to Torgoman would be implemented in stages, beginning with those located in El-Moski and Boulaq Abul-Ela.

Abdel-Bary also said that the Cairo governorate has decided to delay transferring street vendors located in Ramsis until space becomes available.

In an attempt to address the issue of street vendors overcrowding Cairo’s streets and creating traffic issues, the government provided them with designated spaces at Torgoman parking lot.

Ahmed Abdel-Hamid, a store owner on Talaat Harb street, expressed his appreciation for the government’s efforts to relocate the vendors, saying that during the past few years store owners have suffered from their presence.

"We pay taxes, electricity and many other expenses and then we find other vendors competing with us without paying anything, which is unfair," said Abdel-Hamid.

The security campaign to relocate street vendors began on Sunday.

The day began with security forces intensifying their presence downtown with armoured vehicles and riot troops, backed by military forces, as vendors began moving to the new location.

Street vendors have backed up traffic in downtown Cairo in the past several years.

Occupying main avenues in the capital's centre, vendors have been blamed as one of the primary reasons for traffic-congestion in Egypt’s capital.

Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website reported that there are still some street vendors on 26 July street in downtown Cairo who are refusing to move to the Torgoman.