Unidentified armed assailants attack culture sit-in outside Alex theatre

Rowan El Shimi , Monday 24 Jun 2013

Eyewitnesses describe 'vicious' attack outside Alexandria's Beram El-Tonsy Theatre, site of 9-day sit-in against perceived 'Brotherhoodisation' of culture by local activists

Inside Beram El-Tonsy (Photo: Ahram Arabic)

Unidentified assailants on Monday attacked a nine-day-old sit-in at Alexandria's Beram El-Tonsy Theatre, injuring several activists.

According to Ahmed Shawky of the Alexandrian theatre community, several "thugs" armed with bladed weapons attacked activists attending the sit-in.

Shawky told Ahram Online that the attackers appeared to target leaders of the sit-in.

Among those severely injured in the assault were theatre director Ahmed Abu El-Nasr – who Shawky said was in hospital suffering severe brain-bleeding – and outdoor theatre director Osama Gaber.

The sit-in, which has sought to "occupy" the theatre, is intended to demonstrate how state-owned cultural spaces can be effectively run by independent culture activists and artists.

The sit-in has also served as a platform for a series of discussions on culture policy and the role of Egypt's culture ministry.

A similar sit-in has been held in Cairo inside the culture ministry building to demand the dismissal of recently-appointed Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz and a halt to the alleged takeover of Egypt's cultural scene by the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which President Mohamed Morsi hails. 

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