A press conference was held on Tuesday, titled “street vendors between fake media and ignorance of the state”, to discuss the relocation of street vendors to Al-Turgoman, who stated that they have been “out of service” for 10 days.
The conference discussed several problems regarding the increasing numbers of the informal street vendors that reached nearly 6 million people across Egypt, largely due to unemployment fuelled by the economic downturn that followed the 25 January Revolution.
Another issue faced by street vendors is that they are being accused of “thuggery” and involvement in political events by the authorities.
Ahmed Hussien, current head of the Street Vendors Syndicate in downtown Cairo, stated that the street vendors’ stay in Al-Turgoman is just temporary and will only last between four to six months. He added that the government is building a mall to accommodate them in Al-Galaa Street.
Hoda Kamel, an advocate for the street vendors, believes that Hussien does not represent all street vendors. She stated that, if the relocation is only temporary, the government could have left them in their original places until the mall is built.
According to Mohamed Khallaf, head of the Street Vendors Syndicate in Masr Al-Gedida, every district has its own syndicate. He pointed out that all street vendors are against the relocation and four months is a long time for them to wait, as many of them depend on street vending for a daily income, “so it’s like asking them to live for six months without income”.
Khallaf added that the street vendors have presented to the government a number of suggestions to relocate them to more commercial places. “We hope the government will respond soon,” said Khallaf.