The Sadat metro station, serving Tahrir Square, re-opened for the second time on Saturday after it was closed on Tuesday for security concerns.
The metro station, which acts as an important intersection between lines, was closed following the assassination of Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat in Heliopolis earlier this week. Official reports say the top prosecutor was injured in a car bomb explosion and later died in the hospital from his injuries.
Before Saturday, Sadat station had only been opened for 13 days, after a two-year-closure following the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi. The station had been closed ostensibly due to “security concerns,” which many interpreted as attempts by the Interior Ministry to limit access of potential protestors to Tahrir Square.
The Square became a symbol of the January 25, 2011 revolution, as it was the hub for the mass protests that ultimately led up to former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in 2011.
Since Morsi’s ouster the government has greatly increased its control of the Square, and introduced the controversial Protest Law, which imposes strict limitations on the right to assemble and has resulted in the arrests of many activists and protesters. In the last two years, protests have become more sporadic and have begun to take place in different areas of Cairo, all of which have led many to doubt the closure of Sadat as relevant to security issues.
The closure of the station has been a bone of contention between the interior and transport ministries. The Transport Minister Hany Dahy reportedly made numerous requests during the station’s closure to have it re-opened, but his requests were indefinitely declined.
Sadat is one of only two stations where commuters can change on Cairo’s three-line-network, and its inaccessibility has led to commuter delays and increased congestion at other stations, particularly Shohadaa, where passengers were forced to change lines. The ministry has reportedly invested over LE400,000 into upgrading the security of the station, in an attempt to appease the concerns of the Interior Ministry.