Public figures demand government intervention to protect Riche cafe

Several intellectuals and politicians have requested the cultural Riche cafe be preserved and have urged the government to intervene and establish a legal entity to protect the place that has been serving culture and politics in Egypt for more than 107 years.
The cafe, located downtown near Talaat Harb Square, was established in 1908 on the ruins of the Mohamed Ali Palace. It used to be known as a ‘meeting place for middle-class effendis’. It was also the gathering place for novelists and intellectuals like Naguib Mahfouz, Youssef Idris, Amal Donqol, Salah Jahin and others.
Political analyst Mostafa al-Fiqqy said the death of Riche’s owner, Magdy Abdel Malak, was a shock that he still cannot absorb. He added that the deceased owner once expressed concern over rumors that businessman Sameh Sawiris would buy the cafe. Fiqqy said he contacted Sawiris, who said, ‘Whoever approaches Riche will remain cursed forever.”
Journalist Ahmed al-Gammal said the cafe is part of Egyptian culture. Meanwhile, former culture minister Mohamed Saber Arab warned against its disappearance, like many other historic places that have disappeared in the country.
Actor Mahmoud al-Heddiny also called for the necessity of forming a committee and resume measures started by Abdel Malak to form a legal entity for the cafe.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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