Culture Minister Farouk Hosni accused Mohamed Abu Leila, director of the National Circus Authority, of inciting circus performers against the planned transfer of Egypt’s circus complex from Cairo to 6th of October City on the capital’s outskirts.
"The man is shortsighted," Hosni said of Abu Leila. "We’re building a larger and more modern circus complex and plan to send circus performances for training courses abroad."
"The circus is a fine art that requires a venue worthy of it," the minister added. "The old complex in Cairo is in shambles."
He went on to say that the ministry had earmarked 25 acres of land for the new complex, which is projected to cost some LE100 million.
Egyptian Folk Art Authority Director Ashraf Zaki, for his part, said he had met with circus performers on Saturday, where he claimed the circus workers had voiced appreciation for the ministry’s plan to provide them with a larger venue. Journalists were banned from covering the meeting.
The performers had threatened to stage public protests, denouncing the move. In April last year, they also went on strike over pay and work conditions.
"Performers sent a petition to the minister–which Abu Leila also signed–asking to keep the current complex operational until the new one was completed," said Zaki, "and to provide them with housing in 6th October City once they moved there."
Translated from the Arabic Edition.