By Jihad Abaza
Cairo governor Galal Said announced Monday that Waboor Al Thalj, a government project aiming to relocate the downtown Cairo street vendors, will be completed within four months, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
“It is a great idea if they actually implement it the way they said they would,” said AbdelRahman Mohamed, the secretary general of the Street Vendors’ Union.
The project seeks to relocate only those vendors that operate on the streets of downtown Cairo, including Abdeen, 26 July street, Ramses, and Talaat Harb to a designated area on Galaa’ Street.
“People are forgetting that this project is only for vendors in downtown Cairo. We hope their only concern isn’t just for the [bourgeoisie] that walk through these streets. The most important thing should be the comfort of the vendors,” Mohamed said.
Street vendors make up a large segment of the informal sector in Egypt amid rising unemployment. Feuds between the Ministry of Interior and the vendors are frequent, with the ministry accusing many of the sellers of not obtaining the requisite licensing and not paying taxes.
“There is still so much [hardship] for street vendors in different areas; some recently got arrested in Alexandria, Ismalia and other governorates,” Mohamed added.
The police still mistreat vendors, Mohamed said. However, according to Al-Ahram reports, despite their quarrels with authorities, many of the vendors still do not want to leave the downtown area.