'Ministry of Culture Egyptian Ultras' call for mass protest against minister

Farah Montasser, Tuesday 3 Apr 2012

Ministry of Culture employees call for demonstrations outside the minister's office next Sunday, protesting corruption and low pay


A group of Ministry of Culture employees calling themselves "Ministry of Culture Egyptian Ultras" released a statement on Tuesday calling on all employees of all cultural sectors to join a massive demonstration by the minister's office on Sunday, 11 April.

Under the name "I Am The Employee," the Ministry of Culture Ultras are inviting all employees to partake in next Sunday's mass demonstrations, demanding that Minister of Culture Shaker Abdel-Hamid increase their higher reward incentive in the ministry by 150 per cent, and that their annual service gratuity rise to 100 months of service instead of three months.

"We want to be like all other employees in all other ministries in Egypt... They all get the 100-month gratuity raise," Mohamed Ahmed, organiser of the Ultras, told Ahram Online.

Ministry of Culture Egyptian Ultras seeks to purge all corrupt managers and directors in the ministry within all its sectors.

"I am a regular employee and my colleagues and I established this group on Facebook on 14 December last year, fighting for our rights," Ahmed said.

Furthermore, this young movement does not approve of the minister himself.

"[Minister] Abdel-Hamid always claims that we are a poor ministry with minimal budget, when we know that we have money and can get our statuses improved," Ahmed argues.

Criticising the minister, Ahmed states: "Abdel-Hamid cannot be appointed minister. He has not taken any fruitful decisions... In fact he hasn't taken any decisions since his appointment. He doesn't have a vision or an ideology."

According to members of the movement, the minister has failed them, as he has appointed a number of people in higher positions who receive large salaries each month, just because of their personal connections.

"An example would be Hassan Khalaf, the current head of the cultural sector in the ministry," Ahmed told Ahram Online.

"Khalaf has no great merit or experience, and we have reported this case before... He only became head because of his close ties with the minister and his immediate family," Ahmed claims.

Furthermore, the Ultras movement said in its statement: "This is a claim to ensure a decent life for all employees, and the call to a massive rally came out following our determination not to stand silent after today... Rights are forcefully taken and not given by authorities."

"We are after corruption in the ministry and hope to end it because nothing has changed since the revolution in Egypt," said Ahmed.

As the Ministry of Culture Egyptian Ultras continue to spread the word in the entire ministry building in Zamalek and particularly outside Abdel-Hamid's office, the minister denied knowledge of the movement and next Sunday's rally, Ahram's Arabic portal reports.

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