CirCairo 2012 to open despite late hitch

Farah Montasser, Thursday 4 Oct 2012

Circus festival to go ahead as planned on Thursday at Cairo's Abdeen Square despite opposition from local police


CirCairo 2012 is to launch as planned on Thursday at Cairo's Abdeen Square despite opposition from local police.

"CirCairo 2012 is on and nothing will change," event director Ashraf Kenawy told Ahram Online.

According to the event organiser, Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafi (Cultural Resources), CirCairo's opening remained in doubt until Thursday morning as organisers faced opposition from local police and the Cairo governor. 

Kenawy said: "The police refused to coordinate with us and rejected the verbal permission we had been granted by the presidential office."

CirCairo 2012's technicians and organisers went to Abdeen Square at 7pm on Wednesday but were forced out by police.

Head of the presidential security bureau, General Hossam Mohsin, had previously given CirCairo 2012 permission to use the square.

"Both the Ministry of Interior and the head of the local police, General Khalil Ghazi, rejected the verbal permission we had obtained," Kenawy said. "Ghazi requested an official document stating we could continue with our plans."

After several phone calls between General Mohsin and Kenawy, the CirCairo team continued preparing for Thursday's grand opening until police raided the square early Thursday morning.

"As more of our team approached the square at 9am, more police arrive to prevent people entering," Kenawy added.

"The police chief received a short phone call [at around 10am] and all of a sudden I was addressed with respect and we were granted permission to resume with our work.

"I suppose it was a phone call from the presidential office," he said.

Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafi, along with Kenawy, had been attempting to secure an official permit for the event from the Ministry of Interior  since July but had received no reply.

"We sent out an appeal to the presidential office for approval," Kenawy said, and it was verbally granted by head of the presidential security bureau.

CirCairo 2012 features ten Arab and international circus groups and will tour Cairo, Mansoura, and Menofeya with their shows.

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