Cairo: Scores of intellectuals and artists in Egypt today broke into the Ministry of Culture and declared an open-ended sit-in inside the building, demanding removal of the Culture Minister for "destroying national culture".
The intellectuals, including writers and artists, also released a handwritten statement, condemning the newly-appointed Minister of Culture Alaa Abdel-Aziz.
"The intellectuals, writers and artists inside the ministry announce their rejection of the minister..., who has embarked on his plan to destroy national culture," the statement said.
"They [protesting artists] declare that they will not accept the presence of a minister that does not fulfil the aspirations of intellectuals to cultivate a culture that lives up to the hopes of the great revolution since it started on 25 January 2011 and achieves its goals."
Protesting artists have declared an open-ended sit-in until the position is filled by someone who supports and works towards "enshrining values of diversity, citizenship and cultural richness, which were hallmarks of Egyptian culture across the ages," Al Ahram newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, supporters of the minister gathered outside and constructed a stage from which they chanted in his favour.
The current crisis in Egypt`s cultural scene started on May 28 when the culture minister fired the heads of Cairo Opera House and Fine Arts Sector.
Outraged artists accuse the minister of executing a Muslim Brotherhood agenda to Islamise Egyptian culture and reforming Egypt`s national identity.