Homeless protesters outraged as one of them is drowned in the Nile

Sherif Tarek , Saturday 11 Jun 2011

Hundreds of the homeless protesters were outraged after one of them drowned in the River Nile, causing a traffic problem ‎

Homeless protesters
Hundreds of the homeless protesters still reside in Maspero

Hundreds of the homeless protesters, who have been staging a sit-in before the state TV building in Maspero for ‎days, got more infuriated after one of them drowned in the River Nile Saturday ‎morning, an incident that led the demonstrators to block traffic for several hours. ‎
The man, reportedly a father of a young girl and husband to a pregnant wife, is said to ‎have tripped and fell into the water while he was washing his shirt. The ‎reason he resorted to the river water is that protesters were prevented from using ‎nearby bathrooms, thanks to orders giving by the authorities. An emergency force ‎reportedly tried to save his life, but to no avail.‎

In the wake of the incident, the protesters decided to block the street and ‎insisted they would continue to do so until the government fulfilled their demands; providing them ‎‎“humane” dwellings in the immediate future. Authorities and mediators, however, ‎persuaded them at noon to keep their sit-in on the sidewalks in order not to disturb ‎traffic. The protesters vowed to obstruct the street again unless a swift solution is ‎introduced within the next few hours.  ‎

‎“We have been waiting for a long time and nothing happened, even though the ‎government has received a lot of donations allocated for us from artists and ‎businessmen,” one of the protesters told Ahram Online. “It’s not the first time for us to ‎close the street but this time the blockage lasted longer because of anger over the man who ‎drowned.”‎

The police were patient with the protesters as violence seemed to be a measure of ‎last resort. Deployed in front of Ramses Hilton Mall, central security personnel wearing ‎helmets and holding batons looked prepared to disperse the crowd by force, but the ‎street was eventually opened without disturbance, although some of the protesters ‎insisted on keeping the road blocked.‎

The down-and-out protesters used to be tenants in El-Nahda and El-Salam cities. They ‎are understood to have been kicked out by the landlords after the revolution, and over ‎‎1,300 families have been homeless ever since. The government has provided them a ‎temporary camp till they grant them residence but obviously they ran out of patience.‎

‎“Six months have elapsed [Prime Minister Essam] Sharaf took office, we have the right to stage a sit ‎in,” read a banner hung on top of one of the tents which had been set up by the ‎demonstrators.

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