“Have you been here before? If so, you know how to deal with the thugs?” said the middle-aged policeman at the entrance of the Pyramids complex in Giza.
“Yes,” answered our driver, confused given that behind the policeman were heavily armed security forces. As we entered the main entrance to the Pyramids complex near Al-Haram road, a group of about 12 men caught our eyes less than 10 meters from the security check.
“Stop here!” some men would shout as we drove past. That is when I turned on my camera. Showing no signs of slowing down, the men started to bang on the car and would place themselves in the path of the car attempting to stop it. As the video shows, a policeman is standing at the end simply waving you past while witnessing the men banging on the car.
What do the men want? They want visitors to take a horse carriage or their own vehicle to go up to the Pyramids. The men tell visitors that tickets can only be bought from them and nowhere else. If tourists do not abide, they proceed to intimidate them into paying them. This is not a new phenomenon.
In 2012, Egyptian Streets reported how all visitors to the Pyramids were either harassed and intimidated at the entrance by these same men if entering by foot, or experienced the banging of fists on their cars and buses. A year later, the US Embassy in Cairo warned its citizens to be alert while visiting the Pyramids, citing cases of individuals pounding on car doors in an attempt to force the cars to stop. In response, the Ministries of Antiquities and Tourism promised that these incidents rarely occur and that they were now dealt with.
Yet, four years later, the police stand by while thugs intimidate tourists trying to enjoy the world’s remaining ancient wonder. The Ministries are idle as the tourists they struggle to attract to Egypt are harassed, intimidated, and scammed just meters away from the Pyramids and police.