President speaks so Cairo stands still

Ekram Ibrahim , Sunday 9 Jan 2011

President Hosni Mubarak's participation in today's Judges' Day at the High Court meant people had to wait before starting their own day


The streets of Cairo were today rendered silent for President Hosni Mubarak's visit to the High Court, Downtown to celebrate Egypt's first "Judges' Day".

The roads between Nasr City and Downtown were closed by the police forcing drivers and passengers who left for work after 9:30 to wait for hours in idle traffic. “This is against humanity, I have been sitting in my car for two hours,” said 26 year old Sara Samir who commutes from Maadi to Downtown.

The normally half hour journey from Shubra to Downtown took an hour and a half. “Some streets are completely blocked, I thought there was a protest or something,” said Mahmoud Ashraf, a 32 year old engineer.

On the other hand, those who left for work early had a quick journey ahead of them on the empty streets. “I left home at 8 am and I reached work in 45 minutes,” said Dina Safwat, 30, whose daily commute takes her from Mohandessin to New Cairo.  

The same disruption to people's lives occurs every time the President moves around Cairo. “This is always the case, when the president goes anywhere, security blocks the streets of Cairo,” said Samir.

As Mubarak started his speech at the High Court, the streets went back to being full of traffic as the backlog eased.

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