Supporters of Islamist parties in Luxor formed human chains on Wednesday in attempts to allow the newly-appointed governor of the province, Adel El-Khayat, to enter the governorate building despite protests taking place outside.
Among the Islamist parties involved in the action are the Salafist-oriented Nour Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya’s political wing, the Building and Development Party.
Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported that hundreds of protesters on Wednesday afternoon had lit fires in front of the governorate headquarters to bar the governor from entering.
The appointment of El-Khayat on Sunday as governor of Luxor provoked uproar in the Upper Egyptian governorate, as the new governor is a founding member of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, the militant group responsible for the Luxor terrorist attack that killed at least 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians in 1997.
In response to the appointment, political activists and tourism workers in the governorate have announced they will force touristic sites in Luxor to shut down if El-Khayat is not dismissed from office.
Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou submitted his resignation in response to the appointment, despite requests by Prime Minister Hisham Qandil to remain in post.
Luxor, the location of some of Egypt’s most famous Pharaonic sites, relies heavily on tourism.
El-Khayat, who will visit Luxor for the first time since his appointment on Wednesday, reassured Egypt's tourism insiders that he has a vision for Luxor, which he hopes to implement with the help of existing touristic institutions.
He also denied Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya was responsible for the infamous 1997 Luxor attack.