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Egypt police 'expel tourists from unlicensed hotel' near famed Giza pyramids

Many of the district's residents make a living off hawking souvenirs and horse rides [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 January, 2019

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Egyptian police have raided a hotel near the Giza pyramids and attempted to expel tourists amid protests over a plan to demolish illegal buildings near the archaeological site.

Egyptian police have raided what it says is an illegal hotel near the Giza pyramids and attempted to expel foreign and local tourists amid protests over a plan to demolish illegal buildings near the surrounding archaeological site.

The incident in the district of Nazlet al-Samman was captured in a video widely shared online, Al Jazeera reported.

The footage shows security forces attempting to kick tourists out of their rooms in the Pyramids Valley hotel as a tour guide complains about their aggressive actions.

The move comes after police on Monday arrested 24 people who tried to prevent authorities from razing their homes in the impoverished area next to the Pyramids.

Police used tear gas to disperse residents and shopkeepers in Nazlet al-Samman after they scuffled with police escorting the demolition workers.

The violence follows a recent announcement that a private Egyptian company will take charge of running the historical site that includes the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, which are visited by millions every year.

Many of the district's residents and businesses make a living off visitors, hawking souvenirs and offering horse rides. Tourists have long complained of being harassed or overcharged.

The Arab Network for Human Rights Information on Tuesday condemned the crackdown on the protests and accused Cairo of expropriating the land without providing adequate compensation to residents of the area.

The Egyptian government, headed by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, has launched several urban redevelopment projects to expel poor people living in prime real estate on grounds that they are illegal settlements.

Last year, authorities evacuated scores of properties and expelled thousands in the Maspero Triangle area in central Cairo before demolishing the historic slum.

Authorities are also attempting to evict low-income residents of an island in Cairo reportedly to make way for a mega-project funded by investments from Gulf states.

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