This photo taken in Talaat Harb less than 100 metres from Sadat Station and Tahrir Square. Over the years Cairo’s escalating rents has led many traders to turn their cars into fruit and clothes stalls.
In this case the trader was also a participator in the original uprising. I had seen his red Volkswagen Beetle in the Square acting as an anchor to part of a tent not far from the Omar Makram mosque in early February prior to Mubarak’s fall.
After the uprising there were several months during which there was only a very limited police presence on the streets of central Cairo. This allowed many street traders to set up stall along Talaat Harb and the surrounding streets of downtown with its metro stations, government offices and frequent "millionaire" demonstrations, thereby enabling many poorer Egyptians earn a modest income.
Not all of these traders operated illegally with some having a license to sell.
However in 2012 the authorities began a campaign to remove street vendors from the area, arresting those caught and destroying their stock.
This led to demonstrations by the traders and in 2014 the government offered them an alternative trading centre – the parking area at Torgoman bus station. However this didn’t have anything like the footfall and business potential that Talaat Harb had.
Also vendors claimed the allocation system was corrupt with some traders who had been working along Talaat Harb for years saying they had not been allocated any space and even those gaining a place found earning a living much more difficult –
"“The new location is inappropriate. The space allocated to individual stalls is tiny." explained one trader "There are no facilities, and we are expected to pay extortionate monthly fees” ( Quoted in Al Ahram Weekly 24 August 2014 )
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