Martyrs' families and activists join homeless families at their sit-in outside Maspero today

Ahram Online, Friday 24 Jun 2011

Residents of El-Salam, El-Nahda and El-Dowiqah who have been camping outside the state TV building for weeks will be joined by activists today

Families of the revolution martyrs in front of Maspero (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Hundreds of activists have started pouring into the Maspero area as the security forces, both the army and the police, have started to cordon off streets in the vicinity.

The activists plan to camp-out today in solidarity with residents of El-Salam, El-Nahda and  El-Dowiqah outside the state TV building demanding housing.

Families of the revolution martyrs also joined the sit-in.  Interestingly, trucks of chicken farmers parked in front of maspero, and dozens of vendoes are protesting laws banning sale of live chicken.

As the protest gets bigger, tension and clashes could be forseen as police urged protesters to leave and they insisted on continuing their protest.

Hundreds of the homeless protesters have been on a sit-in at Maspero for many weeks now with no positive response coming from the government concerning their urgent and basic demands. ‎

The sit-in, which started right after the Copts had ended theirs in the same location, comprises people who used to be tenants in El-Nahda and El-Salam cities. They ‎are understood to have been kicked out by their landlords after the revolution, and over ‎‎1,300 families have been homeless ever since.

The El-Dowiqah residents, who joined the sit-in later,  found themselves homeless after a catastrophic rock avalanche swept away many of their houses and claimed tens of lives in late 2008.

Hosni Mubarak's government at the time offered the El-Dowiqah people units in the low-income housing project Haram City, owned by Orascom Housing Communities (OHC), a move that triggered a complicated struggle that has been ongoing ever since.

Some of the El-Dowiqah homeless allege that they were given smaller apartments than they had been promised. Subsequently, they confiscated bigger ones by force, which prompted a legal battle and frequent attempts from security forces to throw them out.

Some of them said they were unjustly accused more than once of stealing and others complained because they could not enrol their children at the schools there as they were told that only children of “decent” people were admitted.

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