Riots in Upper Egypt - curfew imposed in Aswan.

Nubians in Egypt demand rights.

Two weeks before the parliamentary elections in Egypt, tensions between the Nubian minority and the security forces are increasing in Upper Egypt. On Monday, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) reported in Göttingen, that the city of Aswan - which is popular with German tourists - imposed a curfew on Saturday evening to prevent demonstrations by Nubians. Previously, the police had fought street battles against outraged protesters who had occupied the most important road along the Nile. The Security forces broke up the crowd by means of batons and tear gas. The immediate cause of the protests was the death of a Nubian boatman on Saturday. He had not survived his severe injuries from being gunned down by a policeman after an argument on November 6. This was the third incident within a few weeks, in which a Nubian was arbitrarily killed by police officers. 

According to the STP, the tensions in Upper Egypt - that have been existent for quite a while - are escalating since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak on January 25, 2011. While the Nubians weren't able to express criticism about their forced relocation due to to the construction of the Aswan High Dam publicly under the dictatorship, they are now demanding their rights more and more vigorously. In August 2011, demonstrators even set fire to the official residence of Aswan's Governor

The Nubians demand to be recognized as one of the oldest cultures and peoples in Egypt. It is a bitter historic irony that they are now impoverished and being treated as second class citizens, while other Egyptians lead tourists to the Pharaohs' realms and explain the high culture of the former rulers of the Middle East some thousands of years ago. Job seekers from the impoverished provinces in Upper Egypt have been moving to the tourist regions for years. Immigrants are in control of about 75 percent of all economic activity in Aswan, so there aren't many chances for the indigenous Nubians. Approximately 1.5 million Nubians are living in the area of Aswan, about 500,000 have settled in the larger cities. Many Nubians would like to return to their old settlements along the Nile.

Nubians living in Egypt were relocated because of the dam-building project three times within the last 60 years. In September 2011, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf promised that they would be allowed to return to their old settlements along the Nile - but this promise has not helped to keep down the unrest.