Head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Abdel Fatah, insists that his resignation is final and he cannot manage the demands of protesters, as Prime Minister Sharaf tries to convince him to stay on
Since the revolution started last January, Egypt’s antiquities community has been rocked by protests, criticism and reshuffles of top personnel at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the powerful governmental body which oversees all of Egypt’s archaeological sites.
Today, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf announced that current secretary general of the Council, Mohamed Abdel Fatah, would be granted the authority of a minister; nonetheless, the chaos continues as Abdel Fatah insists that his recently announced resignation will not be withdrawn, and protesters complaining of years of corruption and mismanagement at the Council continue their sit-in.
Following the announcement today that Abdel Fatah would be offered the full authority of a minister, in order to better proceed with the Council’s archaeological and administrative work, protesters blocked the entrance to the Council’s offices in Abbassiya, switching off the electricity and preventing the employees from entering. They also expelled the building’s security guards and shut the iron gates.
In Aswan, the situation is much worse. Protesters closed the doors of the Nubian museum and the Abu Simbel temples to prevent an official visit celebrating World Tourism Day from entering.
The Supreme Council of Antiquities employees closed the temple of Abydos in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Sohag and closed all storage units that maintain the museum Tuesday, in solidarity with archeologists striking across Egypt.
The Temple of Abydos is the seventh archeological site to be closed down by council employees protesting against the Council’s lack of response to their demands. Other monuments that were closed include the Nubian Museum in Aswan, Abu Simbel, Wadi el-Sebou, and museums near Lake Nasser.
Archaeologists working in the Nubian fund closed down six archaeological sites in Aswan, including the Temple of Abu Simbel, the Temple of Wadi el-Seboo, the Temple of the Mayor and a number of museums located on Lake Nasser, in protest against the lack of response to their demands.
The staff at the Museum of Nubia shut down the museum yesterday and went on a strike until their demands were met. They were joined today by a group of colleagues.
They called upon their colleagues in all districts to close down archeological sites and museums until their demands are met.