An Egyptian singer known for his anti-government songs on Saturday said that authorities had stopped him from performing at an arts festival attended by the country’s interim president and military chief due to “security concerns.”
Mohammed Mohsen said representatives from the presidency escorted him out of the Cairo Opera House on Thursday before his performance was to begin and left him there as the concert went on without him.
Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour and Egyptian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi — a likely presidential candidate — both attended the concert, which marked the revival of an old arts festival.
Mohsen rose to fame when he sang during the country’s 2011 revolt, performing in Tahrir Square, the center of the protests that toppled former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
The singer told reporters he thought officials might have “specifically targeted” him over his revolutionary songs or because he participated in the 2011 uprising.
Concert coordinator Hany Mehana told private TV channel al-Nahar that there were security concerns about Mohsen and there was not “enough time to investigate.”
Mohsen said that the situation “illogical” when he first wrote about the incident late on Friday on Facebook.
“I do not sing in the favor of anybody and I have never sung to praise a president,” Mohsen told reporters on Saturday. “I will keep on singing for the revolution.”
Mohsen recently represented Egypt in music festivals in Italy and Lebanon, and is also a member of a government cultural council’s youth committee.
The halting of Mohsen’s performance came as the Egyptian television network that airs a show featuring a popular satirist who skewers public figures said its broadcast of the program had been deliberately jammed for the second time.
The popular show featuring Bassem Youssef, a satirist often compared to US comedian Jon Stewart, was jammed again on Friday, Dubai-based MBC group said on Saturday in a statement published on its Web site.
It again was not clear who caused the jamming of the MBC Masr channel. Last week, an MBC Masr spokesman said its signal was jammed deliberately on March 7 as it broadcast El-Bernameg, or “The Program” in Arabic.
“I do not accuse anyone, but I wonder about the state’s inability to protect its satellite,” Youssef wrote on Twitter shortly after the most recent jamming.
MBC Masr broadcasts on Nilesat, which is owned by the Egyptian government.
The channel offered alternative frequencies to watch the program during the jamming.
Several satellite broadcasters, including Doha, Qatar-based al-Jazeera, have faced similar jamming during the Arab Spring.