Five people were arrested and referred to prosecution on Wednesday after security forces dispersed a sit-in they participated in to voice objection to their dire living conditions.
The five, including two minors, face charges of blocking roads and assaulting security forces, the Egyptian Centre for Social and Economic Rights (ECESR) reported.
The sit-in was organised by residents of Othman Housing, a government housing area located in 6 October City, on the outskirts of Cairo. They staged the sit-in after having suffered from a one-week long water cut.
On Wednesday morning, the sit-in was dispersed by security forces. ECESR said the “use of force” and dispersal of the residents’ sit-in is latest “in a long series of suffering, which began with displacing them from their original homes and moving them to an area far away from their places of work.”
The rights group added that the Othman Housing lacks public services like transport, health and educational services, which “is a grave breach of fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution.”
The residents had been evacuated from their houses in Al-Duweqa earlier this year and moved to the Othman Housing project which provides safe housing to people, rather than there former hazardous one. Al-Duweqa is an informal settlement, which became the sight of a disaster in September 2008 when a rockslide landed on buildings in the area, leaving more than 100 dead.
In October, ECESR and seven other NGOs called for the rights to adequate housing and said that the state has continued to abandon its commitment to provide appropriate housing for impoverished and low income people. Citing official estimates, the NGOs said around 20 million Egyptians live in 1,125 informal or unplanned settlements.