An estimated 15-19 protesters were arrested Tuesday night in Port Said, after riot police dispersed a demonstration that broke out in the neighbourhood of Al-Sharq.
Dozens of protesters blocked the roads in the vicinity of 23 July street, demonstrating against the alleged sudden increase in the prices of flats and tenant space that had previously been booked and for which they had paid deposits. The flats were part of a social housing programme that is sponsored by the government.
They opposed the increased forced upon them by the Housing and Development Bank (HDB), one of the protesters said.
“Those who were accepted [by the housing programme] received SMSs informing them that they have to pay EGP 40,000 instead of EGP 10,000,” the protestor explained.
Although an increase was rumoured, the news was angrily received by the participants—almost all of whom are young people—who had previously reached an agreement with the Port Said governorate in 2013.
A protester, who refused to give his name due to security concerns, said that they failed to meet any officials to discuss the increase with them.
“After we heard nothing from the officials, we took to the street. Only then did high-ranking security officials come to us, not to negotiate about the increase, but to open the blocked roads,” said the protester, adding that they chanted against the governor and threatened to call for civil disobedience.
“We don’t want temporary solutions. We want our rights. Those who participated in the blocking of the streets are not even people who have been hit the worst by the current economic conditions. What about the impoverished? What if they become angry?”
The Ministry of Interior told Daily News Egypt that riot police were deployed and dispersed the protesters, whose actions resulted in the halting of naval movement in the port.
The police arrested several of the participants and returned mobility to the roads. Those that were arrested will be interrogated and referred to the prosecution. The media office at the ministry said that the forces tried to negotiate and stop the protesters from affecting the city’s naval services.