According to the event’s communications officer, Wesan Razaz, verbal permission had been granted several weeks ago. The security director in Cairo has since refused to issue written permission to allow the group to host their event. On Wednesday, the day before the opening ceremony, security refused to allow the main organiser Ghazi Khalil to enter Abdin square.
“They only told us yesterday that we did not have permission to have the ceremony in Abdin square,” Razaz said. “We don’t have much of a choice, and we need help to pressure the governor to give us permission.”
It is not clear why the festival was not granted permission by the security director, but the organisers of the show filed a formal request in July and are adamant the show will continue. Razaz said the group had sent a telegraph to President Mohamed Morsy yesterday, to ask for his support.
“We have appealed to publications,” Razaz said. “A lot of people will come to Abdin square and we cannot change the time or place of the event.” Razaz believes that a massive show of popular support could help change the security director’s current stance.
“We call on everyone to come to Abdin square at seven PM in a show of support, in order to pressure the governor in allowing the event to proceed normally,” Razaz pleaded.
The Cairo International Circus Festival is set to have three Egyptian performing groups, and three international groups. The organisers mean for the event to continue, despite a lack of permission. Razaz said they were informed of the decision Wednesday morning, and were told the event could not proceed due to security reasons.
Mohamed Al-Monedi, media spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, said that the matter was out of their hands. As the event was being held on the streets, it was up to the organisers and the neighbourhood to come to an agreement. He also offered to explain to the group what steps they should have taken to avoid such incidents.