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Egypt Police Arrest 73 Potters

January 5, 1998

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Hundreds of potters blocked a Cairo street with burning tires and hurled stones at policemen who tried to tear down their illegally-built shops, police said Monday.

The violence occurred Sunday when police forces raided the poor neighborhood of el-Khawaseen to evict them and remove their shops and studios under a court order, police said.

One policeman was injured as stick-wielding protesters hurled rocks and scuffled with police. Seventy-three craftsmen were arrested, said a police official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

The artisans’ shops and studios, occupying 5 acres (2 hectare) of government land, were eventually torn down.

The government recently launched a campaign to reclaim its land taken over by squatters such as the potters who have been working in el-Khawaseen for decades. Many people in this overcrowded metropolis of 15 million inhabitants have also built shanties on government lands.

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