Al-Fan Midan street art festival shut down by security forces
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By SARA OSAMA SHOUREAP

CAIRO:  Al-Fan Midan denounced on Monday the closure of a Saturday night concert hosted at the Bayram el-Tunsi Theater, and arresting some of the concert organizers and activists who attended.

Al-Fan Midan, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) and several political activists denounced the shutting down of the concert.

Al-Fan Midan – which literally translates to “art is a square/arena” – stated that the police officer at the station said that the name of the festival “aroused suspicions” because of the word “midan,” in a Monday statement.

The statement demanded compensation for the damages caused by security forces. They said that the reason behind the closure is the lack of a permit to hold the concert.

“Al-Fan Midan is an artistic and cultural celebration held on the first Saturday of each month in Egyptian squares and streets … It began in April 2011,” the statement added.

They demanded that the Ministry of Culture take a stance in solidarity with their demands by sending annual permits for the event that take place in all Egyptian squares, as well as funding the event, which one of the biggest cultural events, including a large number of participants that has reached up to 14 governorates.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information denounced “the mounting police interventions and violations against the freedom of art and creativity,” in a Sunday statement.

They added that this is not the first event in which artists experienced “police harassment and interference in their creativity,” noting that artist Mohamed Mohsen was prevented on March 14 from participating in Egypt’s official Arts Awards.

The Egyptian Center for Economic & Social Rights reported that the detainees were led to Bab Sharqi Police Station, and a report was filed against them for holding a concert using loudspeakers without permission, but the detainees were released after filing police reports.

Naser al-Abd, Criminal Investigation Director said that the orders to shut the concert down came from Alexandria Security Directorate head Amin Ezz Eddin, when he found that the concert organized without security permission, reported Youm7.

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