Sisi's order of Dresden's Semperoper Ball is revoked


Germany's Dresden Semperopernball Association is reversing the controversial award of its Order of St. George to Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Ball director Hans-Joachim Frey decided that the award would be revoked after a meeting with rock singer Peter Maffay on Tuesday, spokesman Holger Zastrow told the German Press Agency. Maffay, who is booked for the midnight act at the ball, has insisted on the withdrawal. Zastrow did not give any details on how this is to be done.

The tribute to Sisi, who seized power after a military coup and takes tough action against critics and opposition members, as "bearer of hope and encouragement for a whole continent", "bridge builder and peacemaker", a good week ago in Cairo, had caused outrage and protest.

Tagesschau news anchor, Judith Rakers, who had been engaged as co-host, cancelled, as did Mareile Höppner, who had been named as her replacement. Schlager singer Roland Kaiser also distanced himself, but decided to continue to compere the evening after Frey's apology.

Following the refusal of SAP founder Dietmar Hopp and football manager Uli Hoeness to function as laudators, the ball association declared that there would be no further honours this year and that the awarding of the medal would be completely waived.    (dpa)

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