FILE – Part of slums in Maspero Triangle, Ministry of Foreign Affairs can be seen in the background
CAIRO – 5 April 2018: The government has been demolishing houses and shops in the Maspero triangle since March in attempts to redevelop and modernize the three streets of the Bulaq Abul Ela district. These three streets come together to create the three sides of the triangle.
Deputy Governor of Cairo Mohamed Ayman said that all the residents of the triangle have been compensated for the demolished properties. According to Ayman, the government has rehoused 454 families in the Tahya Misr residential complex (Al-Asmarat district).
FILE – Demolition of a building in the Maspero Triangle
Ayman stated that 2,925 families have been financially compensated. The government would also allow 800 families to rent new houses in the triangle after redevelopment. He added that the 800 families were paid money equal to the value of three years’ rent in advance.
Ayman also affirmed that 700 shopkeepers were compensated for their demolished properties, with values varying from one shop to another according to its place and size.
“We are not against [the redevelopment project], we are supporting it,” Abdel Rahman Abdel Latif, co-founder of the Youth and People of Maspero Triangle Voluntary Association, told Egypt Today.
Abdel Latif complained that the government has rejected compensation to those who dwell in small makeshift houses on the roofs of the now-demolished houses, as these homes fail to meet government standards.
FILE – Women walk in an alley in the Maspero Triangle
Approximately 500 to 600 families are affected by this, according to Abdel Latif. The government knows they are demolishing slums, he said, and the residents of such houses must be considered within the compensation plan.
Some activists consider the redevelopment of the Maspero triangle as part of a plan by Gamal Mubarak, former president Hosni Mubarak’s son. The plan was dubbed “Egypt 2050,” and it aimed to remove slum areas and redevelop the country. However, Soheir Hawas, professor of architecture and urban design, denies the claims, saying that Gamal Mubarak’s plan has nothing to do with the current situation in Maspero Triangle.
In July 2017, the government launched a campaign that aimed to restore state-owned lands in Giza's Al Warraq island. Al Warraq is the biggest ever island in Egypt in terms of population density as it is inhabited by about 90,000 residents, according to Giza Governor Mohamed Kamal Dali.
In press statements, Dali said the campaign is targeting urban violators and non-populated buildings on the island. However, clashes erupted between some people and security forces on the island, leaving a civilian killed and dozens of policemen and citizens injured.
FILE - Tahya Misr residential complex (Al-Asmarat district)
Abdel Latif expressed his concerns that such clashes may happen again between security forces and people of makeshift homes, saying: “We do not want the project to fail in the end.”
Summarizing the people’s demands, Abdel Latif said that people who choose to be financially compensated need to get “fair” compensation, and that “everyone inside the triangle should be compensated,” he said, referring to the residents of makeshift homes.