Tuesday,21 August, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1158, (25 - 31 July 2013)
Tuesday,21 August, 2018
Issue 1158, (25 - 31 July 2013)

Ahram Weekly

‘Enough is enough’

Rabaa Al-Adaweya residents tell Mohamed Abdel-Baky they are fed up with the three-week long sit-in staged by pro-Morsi supporters

Al-Ahram Weekly

“Enough is enough. We have been living in chaos for more than three weeks. The protesters should be evacuated from our neighbourhood immediately,” read a statement issued on Saturday by more than 2,000 families living in Rabaa Al-Adaweya, the Nasr City district where Islamists have vowed to protest until Mohamed Morsi is reinstated as president.
It was the fifth statement to be issued by residents since the sit-in began. Earlier statements have complained of protesters blocking roads, sleeping inside building entrances and garages, assaulting residents, attempting to access rooftops, using fireworks and loudspeakers at night and leaving garbage everywhere.
Despite their anger, residents say they are not against rallies in support of Morsi. They just want them to be held somewhere else.
“We will not wait until one of us gets hurt. It is time for Morsi supporters to stop and think of the thousands of people who have been kind over the last three weeks but who are now losing their patience,” read the statement.
Three weeks ago tens of thousands of Morsi supporters flooded the area and occupied it to demand the deposed president be reinstated. They have been there ever since, and the square, decorated with pictures of the ousted president, now seems more like a village market than a relatively well-heeled city suburb.
“We clean the sit-in area and the side streets every night. We do our best in order not to bother the residents,” said pro-Morsi protester Adel Hussein. “We know that we are causing problems but we are all Egyptians and they have to help in such tough times.”
Last week residents released a list of demands. They included clearing side streets of protesters, not using fireworks after midnight, lowering the volume of loudspeakers at 10pm and routine clearing of refuse. Receiving no answer from the sit-in organisers they announced that they would take legal action against the protesters and file a lawsuit before the administrative court asking for the sit-in to be dispersed by force if necessary.
“We have already started to collect signatures from residents for a petition that will be handed to the prime minister in a few days,” says Mahmoud Abdel-Fattah, who lives in the area.
Residents have already staged their own protest in front of the downtown office of the prosecutor-general. They subsequently met one of the prosecutor’s aides and filed a complaint against the Muslim Brotherhood group and its Freedom and Justice Party.
Everybody entering the area, including residents, is searched by the sit-in’s guards. “It is really crazy to find a stranger searching you every time you go in or out of your house,” complained Hazem Othman, a 37-year-old doctor who lives in the neighbourhood.
Because most of the side streets have been closed by the guards many residents find they must park up to a kilometre away from their homes. Al-Tayaran Street and the autostrad, the two main arteries leading to Rabaa Al-Adaweya, have been completely paralysed, and traffic is gridlocked across Nasr City.
“The area has been paralysed for the last three weeks. Most people feel trapped in their houses,” says Taha Mustafa, a 27-year-old resident.
Traffic jams are not the only problem. Public services in the area, including three schools and the Nasr City traffic office, have been forced to close. In addition two public schools in the area have been occupied by protesters who use them to sleep at night.
“Pro-Morsi supporters occupied the school two weeks ago during the night. The doorman could not say anything. They asked for shelter and promised to leave in the morning but they never did,” says Mustafa Essam who lives close to one of the schools.
Mustafa Mohamed, a police officer who works for the Nasr City traffic office, told Al-Ahram Weekly that operations had to be moved to another district because neither employees nor the public could access the office.
“Our lives have never been worse. We think many times before we go out of our homes, it is so difficult to leave the area and then get back,” says Montasser Mahmoud, a 44-year-old banker with three children.
He has already sent his children to live with relatives in Giza.
“We had to get our children away. They thought a war was happening, with Muslim Brotherhood leaders talking endlessly over the loud speakers about the blood they will shed to protect legitimacy,” says Mahmoud’s wife.
Most shops in the area remain open, though they complain of being unable to replenish stocks because the streets are blocked.
“We spend hours negotiating so one small truck can enter the area. Some suppliers refuse point blank to come,” says Amr Khalil who works for a grocery store in the area.
Mahmoud Ashraf runs an electric supply shop behind Rabaa Al-Adaweya Mosque. He has been forced to halve his staff because the shop can only open for a few hours each day. Even then, he says, “I have to sleep inside the shop in order to protect the goods.”  
His greatest wish is for the sit-in to end.

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