The Minister of Interior promised to make the streets easier for blind people to navigate, in a meeting with representatives for people with disabilities on Monday.
The minister, Ahmed Gamal Al-Din, promised that within 15 days, four major traffic signals in Cairo, specifically in Tahrir, Roxy, Dokki, and Abdeen would have audio signals installed. The minister added that there would be awareness campaigns and seminars for traffic police and even drivers when they renew their licenses.
Sayed Goma’a, Chairman of the Union of Organizations Caring for Special Groups and Disabled People, said there are about two million blind people in Egypt, including people who are fully blind and people with partial blindness.
The meeting was held on White Cane Safety day for blindness awareness and the day after a sit-in by disabled people in front of the presidential palace in Heliopolis was violently dispersed. The minister of interior was quoted by the state-run news agency as MENA as saying after Monday’s meeting that the ministry believes in providing services to people with special needs in a “civilised and modern” way.
Al-Seba’y Bahey-Al-Din, who organised the sit-in in front of the presidential palace, responded to the minister’s statement saying the treatment of disabled people at the sit-in was not civilised. “They carried them from their chairs and threw them and blocked the roads with them,” Behey Al-Din said.
Protester Sobhy Abdel-Ma’asood Hendawy said he had filed a complaint with the prosecutor general against President Mohamed Morsy, the minister of interior and two police officers who many of the protesters said were excessively violent during the crackdown.
Goma’a, who attended the meeting with the minister of interior, said that the minister spoke in detail about the incident and said that what had happened was that the protesters blocked the road, when the police moved some of them to the side to open the road, a car hit two of them and one of the policemen. Hendawy said the protesters were on the sidewalk not on the road.
The protesters are critical of Morsy and feel that he hasn’t fulfilled campaign promises to. The My Rights Association for the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities said during his campaign Morsy people with disabilities deserve a dignified life, healthcare and the freedom of movement.
The sit-in started by disabled people in front of the presidential palace started on Wednesday. They say they faced harassment from the police on Thursday as well as Sunday.