Egypt minister pays undercover visit to Cairo public gardens on Sham El-Nessim
Ahram Online, , Monday 13 Apr 2015
Egypt's agriculture minister and Cairo's governor visit parks around the capital, where Egyptians are celebrating the advent of spring


Egypt's agriculture minister Salah El-Din Helal on Monday made a surprise visit to several public gardens around Cairo, where Egyptians are celebrating Sham El-Nessim, a national holiday that marks the beginning of spring.

Helal visited Egypt's Zoo, the Aquarium Grotto Gardens and the Orman Park, walking in after having bought a ticket, "like any other Egyptian, so that no one would notice him and so that he could personally check the implementation of maintenance and development plans he had ordered," according to a statement by the ministry.

Helal also decided to enter incognito so that he could ask visitors to the gardens directly about their opinions on services and take notes, the statement said.

Similarly, Egypt's state television reported that Cairo's governor Galal Moustafa had also made a tour of several parks in the city.

Sham El-Nessim has been celebrated for over 4,500 years. Celebrations often involve picnics in public gardens and eating smoked herring, called "ringa", and salted, pickled tilapia, called "fesikh". The feast is traditionally celebrated on the Monday that follows Coptic Christian Easter.

Police officials have announced an increase in security in public spaces during the celebrations.

Several explosions have targeted security forces and commercial outlets in Cairo residential areas over the last months, killing dozens. The violence has been ongoing since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Egypt's government has also announced phone numbers for medical emergencies.

Egyptians often suffer from food poisoning on Sham El-Nessim, due to consumption of spoiled fesikh.

Police have confiscated at least 1.5 tons of spoiled fesikh from markets this month, according to the authorities.

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