Protesters block accident-prone railways in Egypt's Al-Ayyat

MENA, Saturday 5 Jan 2013

Protesters from Giza's Al-Ayyat block the city's railways and gather at Cairo Station to call for accident precautions; head of National Authority for Railways voices disgruntlement with their demand

Residents of Giza's Al-Ayyat gathered Saturday morning on the accident-prone railways that connect with the neighboring city of Kafr Ammar, demanding the construction of a crossing as a precaution to avoid tragedies.

Engineer Hussein Zakaria, board head of the National Authority for Railways, said other demonstrators from Al-Ayyat rallied at Cairo Station, downtown, to call for the same demand.

Rail tracks of Al-Ayyat are widely known for being prone to accidents, with the most infamous one saw 373 passengers killed in 2002 after a train caught fire. Seven years later, at least 30 people died in another accident on the same railways.

Zakaria, however, slammed the protest and branded it "illegal."

"This is illegal, given that there is already a crossing located five kilometers away from where they want a new one to be built," he explained.

According to a report published in July 2011 by the Central Authority for Public Transport, road and rail accidents in Egypt claimed over 7.000 lives in Egypt in 2010, registering a rise of 7.9 per cent over the previous year.

Last November, a train hit a school bus in Manfalout village, located in Upper Egypt's Assiut, leaving more than 50 people dead. Most of the victims were children.

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