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Artistic freedom of expression shrinks in 'new' Egypt

Nine years after a revolution that had "freedom" as a primary demand, censorship of the arts and music is back in full force with added restrictions on organizing cultural events in Egypt.
Artists, who are against the Egyptian army and government, work on graffiti representing anti-military power along Mohamed Mahmoud Street near Tahrir Square in Cairo early November 24, 2013. To commemmorate the passing of 100 days since security forces cleared the vigils in support of ousted President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood plan to take to the streets on Sunday. Army and police forces closed Rabaa al-Adawiya, Tahrir and Nahda squares in preparation for the demonstration

The Jan. 25, 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak unleashed a creative revolution with the spontaneous emergence of a variety of art forms: graffiti, street performances, underground music and satirical online videos. Much of the revolutionary art was a form of protest against social injustice and repression, but it also acted as a visual commentary on the dramatic developments that were unfolding during that time of political turmoil. Relishing their newfound freedom, artists and musicians used their art to express grievances about "social wrongs" and urge action to redress them.

Nine years on, as the anniversary of the revolution approaches, there is hardly a trace of the cultural awakening that symbolized the freedom of expression in the "new" Egypt. An ongoing security crackdown on dissent, in place since 2013, has targeted artists and musicians along with opposition and political figures, journalists and members of the LGBT community, stifling freedom of expression and putting a lid on provocative art and creativity.

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