Joint army and the police forces took five hours on Thursday to evacuate 891 of the 2000 vacant flats in 6th of October City that were occupied by squatters two days ago.
At 6 am, 20 police cars, 40 central security vehicles and six armored military vehicles, carrying hundreds of police and army troops, entered the area supported by neighborhood popular committees. They initially used megaphones to order the squatters out.
Some of the squatters left at that point, but others started to throw Molotov cocktail and stones at the security forces, who responded with teargas, successfully driving the squatters out of 891 flats, arresting scores of them.
Security sources said forces will remain there until all the flats have been evacuated.
“We are not thugs,” the squatters said. “We just don’t have a place to stay, and these flats have been vacant for years.”
Having illegally occupied 1800 empty flats in 6th of October City on Tuesday, people illegally entered 18 more buildings of the National Social Housing Project, seizing 360 further flats on Wednesday.
In a well-planned move, the squatters stormed the buildings armed with guns and knives, forcing the guards to flee. They brought in technicians to help them lay on water and electricity, brought in relatives from the Duweiqa shantytown, and set up a tuk-tuk terminal.
In 2008, around 500 people were killed in the Duweiqa shantytown in Cairo when a rockslide destroyed their homes. Government officials were accused of negligence for not acting on warnings of the rockslide from a cliff that had been identified as unstable.
Since the event, families from the area have demanded that the authorities make good on promises to provide them with new housing.
Translated from the Arabic Edition