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Egypt revolutionary singer stopped from performing

Saturday - 3/15/2014, 4:02pm  ET

In this Thursday, March 14, 2014 photo, Egypt's Defense Minister, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, attends a gala event at the Cairo Opera House. Earlier in the day, the former chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces, Gen. Sami Anan, declared that he would not run for president, as the public had anticipated. The announcement leaves a leftist politician as the only serious candidate to run against the nation's military chief, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in the vote, expected in April. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar)

MARIAM RIZK
Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) -- An Egyptian singer known for his anti-government songs said Saturday that authorities stopped him from performing at an arts festival attended by the country's interim president and military chief for "security concerns."

The halted performance Thursday from young singer Mohammed Mohsen comes as the television network that airs a show featuring a popular satirist who skewers public figures said the program was deliberately jammed again during its broadcast.

Mohsen said representatives from the presidency escorted him out of the Cairo Opera House before his performance was to begin and left him there as the concert went on without him.

Interim President Adly Mansour and military chief Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, a likely presidential candidate, both attended the concert, which marked the revival of an old arts festival.

Mohsen came to fame for singing during Egypt's 2011 revolt. He performed in Tahrir Square, the center of the protests that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Mohsen told The Associated Press he thought officials might "specifically targeted" him over his revolutionary songs or because he participated in the 2011 revolt.

Concert coordinator Hany Mehana told the private television channel Al-Nahar that there were security concerns about Mohsen and there wasn't "enough time to investigate."

Mohsen called the situation "illogical." He first wrote about his experience late Friday night on Facebook.

"I do not sing in the favor of anybody and I have never sung to praise a president," Mohsen told the AP. "I will keep on singing for the revolution."

Mohsen recently represented Egypt as a singer in festivals in Italy and Lebanon. He is a member of the youth committee in a government cultural council.

Meanwhile, the popular television program featuring Bassem Youssef, a satirist often compared to U.S. comedian Jon Stewart, was deliberately jammed again Friday, Dubai-based MBC group said Saturday in a statement published on its website.

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 jamming Friday. 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-based Al-Jazeera, have faced similar jamming during mass protests that swept through the Arab world since 2011, toppling a number of leaders.


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