We drove from Cairo to St Catherine’s in The Sinai a few days ago and experienced a bit of why the emergency laws are so hated – police checkpoints checked and rechecked our documents and car documents at every town and road junction from the Suez tunnel onwards over the +200km distance.
Our driver told us that Egyptians couldn’t go to The Sinai by air or road without employment papers or proved hotel reservations according to laws put in place when Sinai was returned by Israel to Egypt some 30 years ago.
We stopped for lunch at the half-way point where beach gave way to high mountains tumbling into the sea and two soldiers hiked over from a hut to ask for our ID – we hadn’t realised it was a checkpoint. The friendly soldiers told us that they were are conscripts who spend most of their 3 years assigned to this checkpoint guarding the coastline.
It’s hard to see what from: other bathers? The nearest town was only 2 km along the coast – with a checkpoint on the road.