By Menna Zaki
The Ministry of Interior launched a government project Sunday aimed at shifting street vendors from downtown to relocate them in Al-Torgoman.
According to Major General Mohamed Ayman Abdel-Tawab, Cairo’s deputy governor, the project is aimed at enforcing “the sovereignty of the law” in the Egyptian streets. The project also aims to tackle several problems faced by Cairenes, including traffic congestion, electricity theft, and violation of public property.
Street vendors expressed their anger claiming that the project will simply cut off the daily income they receive from street vending. They say that selling downtown is different from selling in Al-Torgoman, as it is a “non-commercial” area.
The vendors also said that they have placed requests with the government for locations other than Al-Torgoman, but had been rejected by Abdel-Tawab on the grounds that the proposed areas were not permitted for vending.
Abdel-Tawab pointed out that if Al-Torgoman is non-commercial, “then we will make street vending on sidewalks non-commercial as well until Al-Torgoman becomes a commercial place”.
He added that the vendors were informed of the timing of the relocation, saying that “it was no surprise” as it was broadcast on local channels and newspapers.
Ahmed Mosaad, a street vendor on 26 of July Street, said that he was not informed of the ministry’s intention to relocate them today, saying “it came as a surprise”. He complained that the government is disregarding that they have families to support and they now have no place to work.
Adel Mansour, another street vendor on the same street, said that he is not against the relocation as long as he receives his daily income to support his family.
Mosaad said that since the 25 January Revolution, the government has not approached them in any way, unlike under Mubarak, allowing the number of vendors downtown to increase markedly.
Ahmed Hussien, head of the street vendors syndicate, said vendors are “totally against” the relocation, saying it would cause them “huge material losses” as they will not be able to afford their living expenses.
Hussien said that the governor had given little alternative than for the vendors to move to Al-Torgoman. The vendors will prove that the new location is non commercial by selling their products there for five days, he said, and if they are satisfied with the new location they will remain, or will return to their original locations in downtown.
Al-Torgoman is not the only place where vendors will be relocated, with the Waboor Al Thalj project, to be completed in 2 months, also announced by Cairo Governor Galal Said in June.
Keywords: Daily News Egypt, Ministry of Interior, Street Vendors