By SARA OSAMA SHOUREAP
CAIRO: Protests are ongoing against the Ministry of Antiquities, despite its statements regarding the restoration of stolen and damaged antiquities.
Over the past several months, protests have been erupting against Mohamed Ibrahim since his taking over the minister of antiquities position after June 30.
Protester demands range from demanding that the minister do a better job to protect and restore antiquities, to improving the ministry’s administration and releasing detained colleagues.
“The maintenance of antiquities has not been among the priorities of several governments, since the government of former Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri; yet there are many other people who have real ideas for change,” Monica Hanna, an Egyptian archaeologist and a former nominee for the minister of antiquities position, told The Cairo Post on March 15.
“The current minister didn’t succeed in any task since he was assigned,” Hanna added.
Hanna said archeologists were “on the right path to protest against Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim,” since they have many problems with the administration which abolished their health insurance.
“The minister of antiquities is far from being efficient and creative,” she added.
“The number of antiquities that have been restored thus far by the ministry; is nothing compared to what has been lost. The number of stolen artifacts is enormous and they are more than those that have been smuggled throughout the 19th century,” she said.
Archeologists had denounced on March 12 the arrest of some of their colleagues, including Emad Agwa, the head of the Ministry of Antiquities’ Islamic Archeological Research and Scientific Publishing Bureau, according to Veto news website .
Sources from the Ministry of Antiquities told Veto on March 12 the minster had provided the National Security Agency with more than ten names of archeologists affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Campaign for the Protection of Heritage and Antiquities denounced the re-appointment of Mohamed Ibrahim to the ministry by Ibrahim Mahlab, and called on Mohamed Ibrahim to “keep an eye on” archeological sites and develop them, in a Feb. 28 campaign statement.