Nubians gathered outside the upper house of parliament on Saturday to demand an end to marginalisation and to be allowed to return to their lands.
Fathy Mounib, a media person in the committee that follows Nubians’ Affairs in Cairo, said returning to their land was the protesters’ main demand.
Nubians first had to evacuate their lands in the 19th century when the Aswan Reservoir was built. When the Aswan High Dam was built, Lake Nasser flooded most of Old Nubia and thousands of Nubians were forced to resettle.
The protesters also demanded an end to under-representation and marginalisation. “It is the same marginalisation as the past 100 years,” Mounib said. Last December, President Mohamed Morsy appointed 90 members to the upper house of parliament. The president said he wanted the members to be diverse and to represent remote parts of the country like Matruh and Sinai. He did not mention Aswan.
“He picked people from all segments of society, except for us. …We are part of Egypt,” Mounib said.
Members of the upper house of parliament invited the protesters to come inside the council but the protesters refused. Mounib said Nubians have talked about their issue with top officials repeatedly without “real results”.
The Strong Egypt Party released a statement on Saturday night announcing its solidarity with the “fair demands of the people of Nubia” and called for a more fair redistribution of seats in parliament. The party suggested that Aswan be divided into two electoral districts to offer the people of Nubia a higher chance of representation.
This was one of the demands the protesters raised on Saturday. “We have been demanding that since the days of Mubarak,” Mounib said.