President Mohamed Morsi’s house at Zagazig has turned into a target for angry protestors who believe their political message will be spread faster under the president’s nose.

President Mohamed Morsi’s house at Zagazig has turned into a target for angry protestors who believe their political message will be spread faster under the president’s nose.


Clashes between in front of the Brotherhood’s headquarters

During recent confrontations Egypt experienced between politicized Islamists and democratic forces, in which the burning of the Muslim Brotherhood’s election headquarters has become a semi-seasonal political exercise, local forces at Zagazig have located President Morsi’s family home where his sons and brothers live.  All protests now end at the old home, resulting in confrontations and arrests.


Police closes streets

Family home

Maintaining the one-family tradition adopted by the Muslim Brotherhood, the president’s sons live on the fourth floor of a building in the Villas neighborhood in Zagazig’s Second District, near Zagazig Public Hospital and Zagazig University. Shura Council Speaker and the president’s brother in law, Ahmed Fahmi, as well as Vice-President of Freedom and Justice Party in Sharqia Governorate, Ahmed Shehata, also a relative of the president, lives in the same eight-story building.

Since Morsi moved to his new home in Cairo, following his return from the United States, his brother Hussein has been taking care of the president’s family residence, now protected by Republican Guards and the police force.


The president’s house

Hussein says the president’s family is simple, adding that one of his sons lives in an apartment in the same building.

Having been previously limited to Tahrir Square, Talat Harb Avenue, and Zagazig’s Public Offices Square, the course of demonstrations planned by civil democratic forces started to include the president’s family home a few months ago, amid escalating protests against Morsi’s contentious constitutional declaration.

Neighbors bear the brunt

Mahmoud Amara, a law student who lives in a building next to the president’s, complains about the harm caused to his family and the other neighborhood residents, as a result of the tumultuous situation afflicting their street.

He describes residents’ feeling as one of constant apprehension caused by the intensive smoke bombs fired by the police to disperse protestors near the building. The place is haunted by permanent security alert and endless investigations about families living in that neighborhood even before the president’s family arrived.

He says the street has turned into an insecure territory, so much so that his family is seriously planning to move to a safer place. It is not at all reasonable to present his ID every time he or any of his family members leaves or returns to their residence. Paradoxically, the duty of the president’s guards is only to open the doors of the cars of the president’s family, and could not even protect the president’s cars since one of them has been stolen.

So, what do the revolutionaries do in front of the president’s house? Mohammed Badr, a student and one of the demonstrators in that street say: “We certainly don’t plan to break into the house. We have been protesting here for the past four days against the constitutional declaration and the president’s practices which indicate he is a president of the Brotherhood only, rather than of all Egyptians. We are protesting here to send a message to the President that his militias which attacked demonstrators at the Presidential Palace will be punished everywhere, and that their message will be replied to in all governorates.”

Tear gas

The recent spate of violence and confrontations between political opposition groups and police force near the President’s house resulted in injuries and arrests. Mahmoud Sayed, 16 year-old, was exposed to suffocation by tear gas twice while he was demonstrating with friends near the president’s house. In one of those incidents, he was treated in a pharmacy, and in the other, he was hospitalized at Zagazig Hospital. He accuses security officers of fabricating assault charges against them to 18 of his friends.

At the near University Hospital, Saeed Abdullah, husband of an emergency ward’s patient, complains about patients’ exposure to suffocation due to heavy gas attacks while in hospital beds during the clashes. He demands that the president’s family vacate the house because even non-politicized citizens are bearing the brunt of living in this busy residential area.

While the Interior Ministry announced that 22 of its officers were wounded during clashes near the president’s house, a riot police officer, who preferred anonymity, said clashes were triggered by one of the president’s sons who allegedly appeared on the balcony and stuck his tongue out to the protestors in a provocative and irresponsible manner, causing the demonstrators to grow even more enraged. “At that point, we ordered him to vacate the house to save his life and mitigate the consequences of ensuing clashes,” he said.