- Middle East/North Africa
Intellectuals and artists ended their four-week occupation of the Culture Ministry headquarters in Zamalek Thursday.
The protesters had demanded the dismissal of Culture Minister Alaa Abdel Aziz across a 29-day occupation before demanding the entire regime be removed in order to preserve pluralism and freedom of expression.
Anger erupted when Alaa Abdel Aziz was appointed culture minister and dismissed a number of ministry staffers, a step seen by some as another attempt by Muslim Brotherhood-linked officials to levy control over state institutions and undermine the Egyptian cultural establishment.
The culture minister denied the claims, adding that he had aimed at purging the ministry of corruption and that he was leading a cultural revolution in Egypt in which nobody could monopolise the institution, national culture or its icons.
The intellectuals' sit-in, joined by literary and intellectual figures from Egyptian cultural life, began on 5 June after artists and intellectuals broke into the minister's office to call for his removal.
They announced a sit-in at the ministry to continue until 30 June ahead of mass protests planned to bring down the Muslim Brotherhood regime.
On 30 June, protesting intellectuals joined the crowds of millions of Egyptians calling for early presidential elections and the fulfilment of the goals of the 25 January 2011 revolution.