Nile River Police evacuates 'feluccas' in front of NDP building in Cairo

Zeinab El-Gundy , Sunday 23 Aug 2015

Boats owners initially refused to leave, while it is unclear where they will go now. Their evacuation comes as part of development plans for the Nile area

Nile River police evacuate the Nile boats dock Sunday afternoon at Nile Corniche (Photo:Mai Shaheen)

The Nile River Police unit has started to evacuate Nile leisure boats (known locally as feluccas) docked in front of the former National Democratic Party (NDP) building on the Nile Corniche in Cairo Sunday, despite the refusal of their owners.

The move comes as part of Cairo governorate's plan to renovate the Nile Corniche the Nile River, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.

According to Al-Ahram, the Nile River Police attempted to force the owners of the Nile boats to leave the docks, shutting down electricity generators in a bid to force them to leave.

"There are at least 1,000 families gaining their living from those boats. We won't leave," one of the boat owners told Al-Ahram.

Boat owners organised a small protest, chanting on "We won't leave, we won't leave" before eventually starting to undock their boats.

According to the Cairo Governorate , the boats will move to docks at El-Sahel area in North Cairo.
Cairo governorate spokesman Khaled Mostafa told Ahram Online that starting from Sunday the owners were not allowed to dock their boats on the Nile corniche.

Mostafa revealed that the decision to ban the boats in the area is part of Cairo governorate's plan to renovate the Nile Corniche.

"This is the first stage of the Nile Corniche development project, which will be from 15th May Bridge in Zamalek to the British Embassy in Garden City — about two kilometres," Mostafa told Ahram Online.

The Nile "felucca" are traditional wooden sailing boats used in Egypt and Sudan on the River Nile. The boats cruise along the Nile and are considered a popular and cheap outing destination in Cairo for Egyptians and foreigners alike, especially in summer season.

The Nile Corniche, near the former NDP building, hosts a number of 5-star hotels, from where Nile boat owners find their customers among tourists.

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