We rely on donations to develop Tahrir Square, says culture minister

Culture Minister Saber Arab said Wednesday that the government relies on donations to develop Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the Egyptian revolution that toppled ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

The government announced last month that it has plans to renovate the square and ordered the removal of graffiti on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, a move which angered many activists.

Prime Minister Hesham Qandil met Wednesday with the Cabinet to discuss development in Tahrir Square, and reportedly is considering suggestions from the younger generation so that the square reflects the spirit of the revolution.  

Arab also said preparations are underway for the anniversary of the revolution on 25 January 2013.

“We will rely on donations for the development of the square as the budget for it has not yet been determined,” he said, adding that certain places in the square would be allocated for peaceful demonstrations and others for art galleries and cultural activities.

Cairo Governor Osama Kamal, for his part, said other squares in the capital would also be developed in the same spirit.

“The square is not only a symbol of protest,” he said. “It is a symbol of national unity.”

As for the former National Democratic Party building on the Nile Corniche, Kamal said it would either be annexed to the Egyptian Museum or removed altogether.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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