Clashes erupted between police and residents of Warraq Island in the south of Cairo on Sunday, when the state attempted to demolish buildings on the island as part of its wider land and asset reclamation project.
Police forces fired tear gas to disperse a crowd that had gathered to contest the demolition, and, in the ensuing melee, one resident was killed and 19 injured, according to the Health Ministry. The Ministry of Interior published a statement asserting that 31 of its officers were wounded, and that residents attacked police with birdshot shotguns and rocks.
In a conference on land reclamation held in June, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that the government had retrieved 118 million square meters of state land in a few weeks, an area constituting 69 percent of total land seized by the state. Amid the announcement of success, Sisi signaled that the state would turn its attention to Nile islands during the next phase of land reclamation, mentioning Warraq island specifically.
Where other occupants whom the state had targeted under the umbrella of the program were allowed to pay the state what it owed and remain on the land, Sisi was adamant in his speech that he would not grant island residents the same concessions.
“Any buildings on the banks of water channels, drains or the Nile should be removed. Yes, there are residents. We should find a solution for them, but they have to be removed,” he said.
Below are a series of a photos and a video documenting the aftermath of Sunday’s clashes.
شهدت جزيرة الوراق صباح اليوم، الأحد، اشتباكات بين سكان الجزيرة الواقعة وسط مياه النيل في شمال الجيزة وقوات الشرطة التي حاولت إزالة منازل الأهالي. وأطلقت الشرطة قنابل الغاز المسيل للدموع وأعيرة خرطوش مما أدى إلى مقتل مواطن وإصابة 19 آخرين، بينما أصيب 31 من الشرطة. عدسة «مدى مصر» وثّقت الحدث.
Earlier on Sunday, Warraq Island residents clashed with security forces who had arrived on the island to demolish the community’s buildings. The melee was marked by police firing tear gas canisters into the crowd and left one resident dead and 19 injured, in addition to 31 injured among the security forces. Mada Masr documents the aftermath.
Posted by Mada Masr English on Sunday, July 16, 2017