Egypt police attack protesters in Sinai flood aid demonstration

Egyptian police fired teargas and rubber bullets on Wednesday at around 1,000 protesters in Sinai, witnesses said.

Egypt police attack protesters in Sinai flood aid demonstration

Egyptian police fired teargas and rubber bullets on Wednesday at around 1,000 protesters in Sinai who accused the government of neglecting them after flash floods damaged their homes, witnesses said.

A security source said the demonstrators threw stones at police and blocked the road leading to the southern resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh from Ras Sedr, in South Sinai.

Relations between the government and Sinai, where there is a large Bedouin population, are often strained. The Bedouins complain of economic marginalisation, police harassment and limited access to jobs in the tourism and petroleum sectors.

"The protesters cut off the road leading to Sharm el-Sheikh with small trucks and set fire to the trucks' tyres protesting at the delay of rescue aid," the security source said.

The witnesses said police and protesters were injured during the clashes.

Several people died and many more were injured in Sinai and Aswan during three days of unusually heavy rain.

Although few homes were totally destroyed in the Sinai peninsula, the witnesses said protesters complained the water reached 2 metres high and they had not received any help.

A government official in Ras Sedr told state news website egynews.net that Egypt had agreed to pay the family of a woman killed in the floods 15,000 Egyptian pounds ($2,750), as well as giving 1,000 pounds to those injured and 100 pounds to each person from the South Sinai governorate who was badly affected.

Thousands were left homeless in the southern Egyptian town of Aswan, where President Hosni Mubarak met flood victims on Wednesday and promised to increase compensation there to 25,000 Egyptian pounds ($4,600) from 15,000 pounds.

Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif visited el-Arish in North Sinai, several hours drive from Ras Sedr, on Wednesday to oversee the rescue operations there, Egyptian media reported. Six people died in the floods in North Sinai, a governorate official said.

Many homes were damaged and four collapsed during flooding in el-Arish, but no deaths or injuries were reported.

Reuters
Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2010, 20:11
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