Vanishing vendors

Vanishing vendors

Photo by Ahmed AlMalky

Photo by Ahmed AlMalky

In any place where people congregate in Cairo you will find the men who sell tea, juice, foul, cotton candy and a variety of paraphernalia du jour. Over the past few years we have seen images of leaders come and gone, red cards and piles and piles of Egyptian flags on offer from small carts or blankets spread out on the sidewalk.

The street vendors of Cairo have been sometimes been caught in the violence that surrounded protests, have been attacked by rivals and have had their merchandise and small carts broken. But they always return; they are an integral part of the capital’s streets.

Yesterday, in a coordinated police effort, all vendors were removed from Tahrir Square and while their possessions were loaded onto trucks for disposal, leaving the sunny square devoid of the unofficial street economy. Expectation is that this lack of commerce would only exist for a few hours, Cairo’s vendors can be removed but it is never a permanent solution.

 

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