Stones lie on the ground as Egyptian anti riot vehicles park in front of the Luxor temple following a protest, Friday, March 28, 2008, against forcing hundreds of Luxor residences to leave their houses to prepare for a government project turning the city into a large open-air museum. Hundreds of Egyptians have clashed with riot police in the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor. (AP Photo/Saedi Press)
LUXOR, Egypt - Hundreds of residents of the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor clashed with riot police Friday during a protest against government attempts to move them to make room for an open-air museum free of modern buildings.
The demonstration turned violent when police prevented the protesters from entering Karnak Temple, one of the most famous sites from the Pharaonic era, according to witnesses.
Residents hurled stones at police, who responded by firing tear gas and arresting 13 people.
The government has offered compensation and temporary housing to many of the displaced residents, but some complain the money is insufficient or that they simply do not want to move.
"I was born in the house where I live now, and my grandfather and my father lived in it," said Mohammed Abdel-Radi, one of the residents forced to move. "I don't want to leave to any other place to make new friends and new neighbors."
Another protester, Nabawi Mohammed Khalil, expressed similar views.
"The alternative houses offered by the government to some of my friends were not good, and the money was also little," said Khalil.
Located on the Nile River, Luxor's West Bank contains the Valley of the Kings and its famous collection of well-preserved Pharaonic tombs, including King Tutankhamun's, that draw thousands of tourists daily to the area.
The government plans new excavations in the area, with the goal of turning much of the town into an open-air museum free of modern housing and other structures.