At least one has been killed and 56 others injured on Sunday during severe clashes between residents and security forces in Giza’s Warraq Island.
Clashes erupted as security forces attempted to demolish the houses of some residents on claims of building illegal properties and houses on state-owned land. Crowds of residents stood against the demolishing operations to defend their homes.
The Ministry of Interior announced in a statement that 31 from the security forces were injured in the clashes including the deputy head of the Giza security directorate. The statement continued that in light of the state’s efforts to demolish all the encroachments on its lands, the clashes broke out and the residents fired bird-shots on the forces.
In order to disperse the crowds, security forces fired teargas following assaults from the residents, the statement went on to say.
Several of the poverty-stricken residents were arrested after they had been dispersed.
The authorities are attempting to demolish the buildings in order to build luxurious resorts instead, according to the residents.
However, president Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi vowed to recover state land from encroachers and expressed severe opposition against the illegal acquisition of lands. Al-Sisi launched a campaign to demolish buildings allegedly built on state-owned land. Since then, the authorities demolished several properties for not being legal, including Kiteloop resort in Ras Sudr.
Eyewitnesses told Agence France Presse that authorities had not handed the residents a notice in advance to inform them of the eviction decision. Residents said that they built their houses on Warraq Island over 30 years; they showed papers to prove their ownership of the houses.
The tension heated up following the death of a civilian. The security forces have established cordons around the entrance of the Island.
MP Mahmoud Jaffar Salman said that about 90 thousand people live in 1300 acres on Warraq Island, Reuters reported. Warraq Island lacks several facilities including clean water and a proper sewage system.