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War front in Moqattam.

Summary: CAIRO - Unlike residents of Tahrir Square and its environs, people living on Street l0 in the Moqattam district, south-east Cairo, experienced for the first time this week the fear associated with the sound of gunshots and the strong suffocating smell of tear gas.

By Samar Ali Ezzat

The clashes that first erupted on Saturday outside the well-guarded Muslim Brotherhood (MB) premises between anti-Brotherhood protesters and party members, and later on the police, turned the quiet neighbourhood into a war front.

The victims of the violent confrontations were not only those involved in the fight, but basically the street dwellers. Locked within their homes, residents had to tightly close windows to prevent tear gas from seeping inside.

The area has been witnessing for several days now a heavy security cordon, since scores of protesters have been showing up every day to chant against Brotherhood rule. The protests in fits and starts coupled with stone throwing and verbal and physical abuse have actually scared off frightened residents who complain that their lives have turned topsy-turvy.

Some of them have opted to move out temporarily to stay with family or friends until things return to normal. M. M., a housewife who lives in the apartment block right next to the MB headquarters, says her children had watched a live action movie on Saturday.

Another resident Nagwa Fawzi told Al-Akhbar Arabic daily that she had to take her daughter out of the home because of the choking gas.

The announced intention of some political powers and activists to stage this week's Friday protest at Moqattam has driven many more residents to decide to leave their abode for some days.

The coming Friday protest entitled 'Regaining Integrity' is prompted by the assault made by MB members and guards on protesters that were drawing anti-Brotherhood graffiti on walls in the vicinity. The physical assault on a number of journalists present while they were on duty there and the slapping of a female activist on the face caused societal anger to escalate.

Moqattam residents have, however," urged the police to tighten their security grip on the area to prevent the expected influx of protesters. They hope that protests would be confined to the iconic Tahrir Square instead of bothering inhabitants who have chosen to live in such a quiet retreat as the Moqattam area.

Construction workers in the neighbourhood say they have been also badly affected by the fiery events. Work has been suspended in buildings under construction in the vicinity of the MB premises. "The engineer in charge has not shown up for two days and we need to get paid", Ramadan a day-to-day worker told the paper.

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Publication:The Egyptian Gazette (Cairo, Egypt)
Date:Mar 20, 2013
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