Security forces forcibly evacuate residents of Ezbet al-Nakhl

Security forces raided the area of Ishash Othman in Ezbet al-Nakhl, one of Cairo’s many slum areas, on Tuesday, evacuating its residents, and demolishing their homes.

The Freedom and Bread Party, which helps support the residents of the area and their housing problems, said in a statement on Wednesday that the majority of the area’s residents are now stranded, as the government has only managed to house 100 of the evacuated families.

Karim Shawky, the party’s field work officer, told Mada Masr that the residents’ problem started four years ago, when the government started to build the foundations of a bridge that is meant to replace the slum area.

Shawky says that the residents were repeatedly informed over the years by the authorities of the evacuation plan. However, he maintains that there was no notice given before the police attacked them yesterday.

Members of the party and lawyers were at the neighborhood’s authority ten days ago and were informed that there were no imminent evacuation plans, Shawky added.

The party reported that the residents who resisted the evacuation were mistreated by the police.

Shawky also stated that 11 families who fought back were taken to a police station where they were beaten up. They were given apartments in the Dar al-Salam neighborhood, and instructed to leave after 15 days.

However, he revealed that the remainder of the residents – approximately 2000 families by the party’s estimate – are hiding out in side streets in the area, where police continue to return to threaten them with violence if they do not leave.

Shawky says that the local authorities, which had previously announced that they only had evacuated 420 apartments, are refusing to provide residence for the rest of the families, claiming that this is the number of people in the area by their count.

According to Shawky, the party will head to the prosecution office on Wednesday to report the violations.

Amnesty International published a report in August 2011 estimating that over 12 million people live in slum areas around Cairo. The report also accused authorities of mistreating the residents of these areas by subjecting them to unlawful forced evictions and threatening them with arbitrary arrest under repressive emergency legislation if they protest.

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