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Protests storm Cairo Opera House

Published: Updated:

Protests erupted in the Cairo Opera House on Thursday following a decision by the new Culture Minister to terminate its head.
Inas Abdel Dayem, who has been head of the Opera House since last year, says she was taken aback by the decision.

“I was surprised by the minister’s decision, yet I had anticipated it ever since a rumor of my dismissal circulated several days ago,” she told Al Arabiya.

Dayem is the third official to be sacked by the culture minister, Alaa Abdel Aziz, after Ahmad Mujahid, head of the Egyptian General Book Authority, and Salah el-Meligy, head of the Fine Arts Sector, were also let go.

Opera House employees retaliated to the minister’s decision by announcing the suspension of all opera acts until Saturday so as to express their solidarity with Dayem.

The protest started at the beginning of Opera Aida, when the curtains were raised to show staff and actors holding banners that demand the dismissal of Aziz, who was appointed culture minister earlier this month.

Actors and artists alike expressed their dissatisfaction over Dayem’s dismissal.

Egyptian Poet Ahmad Abdel Moety Hijazi resigned from his position in the Ministry of Culture in objection.

The culture minister named Reda el-Wakil, head of the Artistic House at the Opera House, as Dayem’s successor. He allegedly declined to accept the position, according to the Ahram Online newspaper.

Ahram Online also reported that the Opera House artists took to the streets on Tuesday where another planned protest erupted to condemn the dismissal of el-Meligy.