The monthly street festival El-Fan Midan (Art is a Square) was cancelled on Saturday 2 August, when security forces responsible for securing Abdeen Palace refused to grant the festival participants and organizers access to Abdeen Square. The license granted by the Cairo governorate ten days before the festival was disregarded by the security forces, demanding clearance from the Abdeen Police Station.
Following an intervention by recently appointed Culture Minister Gaber Asfour, the Ministry of Interior has agreed to allow the festival to run normally next week. The festival, typically scheduled for the first Saturday of each month, will instead be held on 9 August.
El-Fan Midan was launched in the spring of 2011, immediately after the January 25 revolution, following a meeting called for by Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (Culture Resource). It has been run by by a group artists and cultural figures seeking to find tools and platforms for dialogue through art and to disseminate culture to all Egyptians.
The festival has since showcased various artists and shows and performances that are of a subversive flair.
Following a meeting on 30 June, Minister of Culture Gaber Asfour agreed to support El-Fan Midan with a monthly grant.
Former culture minister Emad Abu Ghazi supported the initiative for three months with EGP30,000. Subsequent ministers Shaker Abdel-Hamid and Mohamed Saber Arab cut the festival's budget and then completely withdrew it.