‘Open door’ draws aggrieved to Egypt presidential palace


Hundreds of Egyptians have been making their way to the presidential palace in Cairo to air their grievances and demand solutions directly from newly-elected President Mohamed Morsi.
For days they have flocked to the palace in the upmarket neighbourhood of Heliopolis after Morsi, who was sworn in as Egypt’s first civilian president on Saturday, said his doors would be open to all Egyptians. A former official with the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi has tried to present an image of an ordinary and approachable president. Members of his staff have even allowed protesters inside the building to present their demands, an unprecedented move for a country where layers of security and bureaucracy have always stood between a citizen and the president.
Shehata Etman, who worked at the Pirelli tire factory in Alexandria, said he was forced to take early retirement and was not paid what he was due, and now wants Morsi to solve the problem. “We protested at the factory for two years; no one listened. We protested at the Italian embassy; no one listened. So we decided to come straight to the president. Maybe he can do something,” Etman told AFP. Workers from cement and textile factories wanting permanent contracts or better working conditions chanted and held up banners while activists demanding the release of political detainees organised a news conference outside the palace.