Nubians call off sit-in following negotiations with MPs

Ahram Online , Wednesday 23 Nov 2016

Sit-in by Nubians on Saturday at the Abu-Simbel-Aswan highway (Ahram Arabic website)

Hundreds of Nubians, who have been protesting for four days against the government's takeover of land they say is part of their inherited homeland, called off their sit-in early on Wednesday following mediation efforts by a group of MPs.

The protesters in southern Egypt re-opened a road between the city of Aswan and the archaeological site of Abu Simbel which they had blocked over the past day, Ahram Arabic news website reported.

The move followed negotiations with a group of three MPs who pledged to Nubian community leaders that the crisis would be solved during a cabinet meeting scheduled for early next week.

The protests began earlier this week after security forces banned a group of Nubians from returning to areas around the villages of Toshka and Forkund, which the government designated in October for sale to investors as part of a national development project.

Nubians, an ethnic minority in Egypt, have long felt disenfranchised for having been forcibly displaced repeatedly since the early 1900s, and most recently in 1964 during the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

Under Egypt's 2014 constitution, Nubians were accorded the right to return to their land within 10 years of the document's ratification.

However, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has allocated large areas of land for a national reclamation and development project, and in late 2014 designated an area of 16 Nubian villages as closed military territory.

Protesters threatened to return to protesting if their demands that the land be returned to them are not met.

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