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Egypt: Court throws out Warraq Island lawsuit demanding compensation

March 28, 2023 at 11:51 am

People shout slogans during funeral ceremony of Ali El Gizavi who died during clashes breaking out after security forces destroyed some houses claiming that they are unlicensed, at al-Warraq Island in Giza, Cairo, Egypt on 16 July, 2017 [İbrahim Ramadan/Anadolu Agency]

An Egyptian court has thrown out a lawsuit filed by residents of Warraq Island demanding that the Egyptian government compensate them for expropriating their lands.

In the lawsuit, lawyer for the families Ghanem Salih Ghanem argued that the Egyptian government’s decision to expropriate the properties without proper compensation or negotiating with the residents is contrary to Egyptian law, reports Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The island, which connects to the capital Cairo by ferry and houses around 100,000 people, has been the centre of an ongoing assault by the government which has earmarked the land for redevelopment.

Over the summer of 2017 police arrived early one morning, began demolishing houses and fired tear gas at residents who had gathered to stop them. Several were arrested.

In total, 700 buildings were demolished, one person was killed and 19 people were injured.

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Egyptian authorities justified the move by saying their houses were illegal, that residents are illegally squatting on state land and that there was a lack of proper sanitation.

Residents say they have documents that prove the houses belong to them, yet they have been made homeless.

Protests and confrontations between residents and security forces are ongoing. Last summer, residents were arrested and later released as they continued to resist plans to expel them.

They have developed several ways to resist the government, including blocking the ferry port so that construction equipment can’t enter and by holding weekly demonstrations.

In 2022 the government announced a billion dollar plan to transform the island with skyscrapers, helipads and marinas.

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