Cairo governorate allocates  alternative space for street vendors
Cairo governor Galal Mostafa - YOUM7/Hazem Abdel Samad

CAIRO: New alternative space allocated for street vendors to sell their goods and earn their living will be announced as soon as possible, deputy Cairo governor Mohamed Ayman Abdel Tawab told Youm7 Monday.

“The alternative space will be in the vicinity of residential areas,” Tawab said. “The government should bring an end to the problem of street vendors and restore order to the Egyptian streets with the intent to permanently eliminate traffic congestion in the capital.”

“There are some who oppose the idea since it clashes against their interests,” he said.

During the executive council of Cairo governorate in May , Cairo Governor Galal Moustafa Saeed gave firm orders to heads of Nasr City and Heliopolis districts to ban the presence of any street vendors outside the new metro stations, according to Al-Watan newspaper.

Several departments in Cairo Security Directorate earlier began a joint campaign to remove street vendors from several squares in the capital.

Targeted areas include Roxy in Heliopolis, Abbas el-Akkad in Nasr City, Shubra, and from in front of Metro stations starting from Maadi. Street vendors across greater Cairo have demanded the government to create new, more suitable market spaces for them to sell their goods and earn their living.

The authorities evacuated some street vendors in a “securitized manner” and clashes may erupt if the police continue with “security provocation,” Head of Street Vendors Syndicate Ahmed Hussein told Youm7 on June 10.

Street vendors are against the idea since it is their jobs and their only source of income. “Hire me as a dustman, hire me as anything because if I am hungry I will steal to feed my children,” a street vendor told Youm7 on June 10.

Cairo governor Galal Saeed ordered another market to be established for street vendors in the large slums settlement of Manshiyat Nasser on the outskirts of Cairo. It would be part of a plan to develop the area in cooperation with the slum development fund, Al-Wafd newspaper reported April 4.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab organized a meeting last week to discuss the issue of street vendors. The meeting was attended by the Minister of Local Development and Management, governors of Cairo and Giza, and representatives of the concerned authorities. Mahlab said the government is very serious about finding alternative space for vendors to work because it concerns the “prestige of the state” and would “restore traffic flow,” Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

Vendors have been under fire from governorate and state authorities for obstructing roads, causing traffic, and unlicensed selling, but vendors’ efforts to alleviate this crisis through their syndicate have been repeatedly ignored by the state.

Street vendors face numerous difficulties yet the government continues to ignore their initiatives to solve this problem by opening alternative spaces, one vendor downtown Cairo told The Cairo Post Sunday.

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