Egypt Independent

Zamalek residents consider filing lawsuit in international courts against metro station



Residents of Cairo’s most prestigious and aristocrat suburb, Zamalek, continued their campaign against the construction of a neighborhood metro station voicing the threat of a possible legal battle.

A number of Zamalek residents showed interest, on social media, in filing a lawsuit at the international judiciary courts against the French company responsible for the project.

Zamalek’s residents have consistently called on state officials, including the Transportation Minister, to engage in a dialogue where they can voice their concerns about the new metro station; however no responses from officials have been received, professor Maha al Tarabishi, one of Zamalek’s residents and activists against Zamalek Metro station told Egypt Independent Thursday.

She added that residents will ask for compensation from the French company responsible for the project, through filing a lawsuit in international court, as the construction of such station will threaten the historical buildings of the suburb.

“There is a campaign that has been made by the majority of Zamalek, this campaign has repeatedly tried to contact state officials to exchange views on that project, but has received no response. We are trying now to echo our concerns through media outlets, however we cannot guarantee their integrity,” said Tarabishi.

Moreover, she said that some Egyptian expats with US nationality, will file lawsuits against the Egyptian Underground Authority in US courts, as their elderly parents who reside in Zamalek will possibly be at risk during the drilling operation, that may result in the collapse of their houses.

Tarabishi said the main hazard of constructing the metro station is the collapse of historical buildings, as the soil is very fragile and cannot withstand the pressure.

“There are prominent architects who provided the Transportation Ministry with evidence that the soil is very fragile and will not bear such a burden,” she noted.

“The project is being financed through a loan from the European Investment Bank, we have contacted an Egyptian international lawyer who will be ready to file the lawsuit against the responsible company, moreover we sent evidence of the project hazards on the buildings to the European Bank. The bank said that its response will be ready in February 2018,” she explained.

Tarabishi said that the drilling equipment present near her home is preventing cars from entering the street in front of her home, pointing out that the blockage could hinder ambulances and firefighters in case of emergency.

Some media reports consider the protest of the Zamalek metro by residents as a type of discrimination against other Egyptians, arguing that the residents see the Metro station as a gate that will enable the entry of different classes to their prestigious suburb. Tarabishi denounced these claims.

“These reports are part of the propaganda adopted by some officials who have multiple interests in implementing such a station, this is not the reality, and the construction of a metro station in Zamalek will destroy the historic buildings,” she stressed.

Egypt Independent tried to reach officials from the Metro National Authority to get more details on the construction stages of the Zamalek Metro Station, however no one responded.

Since the government declared its intention, in 2013, to establish a third metro line that would include a station in Zamalek, many residents have objected, not only through media outlets, but in organized marches as well.

During a press conference in July, the partnering French and Egyptian companies responsible for the third metro line officially declared that the National Authority of the Cairo Metro approved the establishment of a Zamalek metro station.

In the statement they said that alternative plans to avoid the Zamalek metro station construction have been rejected, as they would cost too much and would consume too much time and effort.