Prime minister to attend Qena million-man ‘celebration’

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf is planning to attend a demonstration in Qena this Friday, billed as a "celebration" of the government's decision to suspend the newly-appointed governor, Emad Mikhail.

Qena had been rocked by protests since the appointment of Mikhail to the post of governor, an appointment that recieved strong criticism from sections of the local population.

Some citizens staged a ten-day sit-in in front of the governorate's main buidling, also blocking railways, in objection to the appointment of Mikhail, a Christian, demanding that he be replaced with a Muslim.

However, some protesters said their objections were not based on religion, but rather on Mikhail's record, saying that he was involved in the murder of protesters during the 25 January revolution that brought down the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak.

On Monday, Sharaf suspended Mikhail for three months, leading protesters to end their sit-in, and life to return to normal in the city.

In statements quoted by the Midde East News Agency (MENA) on Wednesday, Ahmed Omran, who was delegated by the government to handle the crisis, said the prime minister will perform the Friday prayer at Sidi Abdel Rahim al-Qenawy, a major mosque in Qena.

He added that Sharaf will take part in the million-man march due to start after prayers to celebrate the end of the impasse.

On Tuesday, Sharaf announced from Kuwait that he would visit Qena as soon as he returns to Egypt and will meet with its citizens and address their problems. The prime minister has been in Kuwait as part of a tour of the Gulf region.

He also said that the government plans to adopt new mechanisms in the appointment of personnel to all posts, including municipal positions.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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