The Egyptian Civil Protection Authority (CPA) has reportedly issued a decision to close the El Sawy Culturewheel, saying that the popular culture center in Cairo’s Zamalek district lacks adequate safety precautions for visitors.
Cairo Governor Abdel Azim Wazir, however, has stated that the center should continue its cultural and artistic activities while at the same time working to meet required safety standards.
In statements to the press on Sunday, Wazir declared that no decision had yet been made by the governorate to close the center. But he added that the El Sawy center’s administration was not currently providing visitors with adequate safety.
According to center manager Mohamed el-Sawy, the culturewheel meets all the safety standards required by venues that present artistic performances. He said that the CPA had inspected the center when it was first established in 2003 and continues to conduct periodic safety inspections.
El-Sawy added that the center would work to meet any additional safety conditions deemed necessary by the CPA to protect visitors. He pointed out that the culturewheel did not use fire in any of its featured performances in accordance with government orders issued in the week of a 2005 theater fire in the Middle Egyptian city of Beni Sueif that killed dozens.
Ahmed Megahed, president of the state-run General Authority for Culture Centers, said there is no single ministerial body responsible for bringing cultural sites in line with CPA safety specifications, adding that these specifications tended to change over time.
"There are a number of culture centers far better equipped than El Sawy Culturewheel but which have nevertheless been shut down by the CPA," Megahed said.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.