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People have right to hold peaceful demos: Hindam

ISLAMABAD, AUG 14 (DNA) –Ambassador of Egypt to Pakistan Said Hindam has saidEgypt’s leadership has reiterated time and again, at the highest level, its determination to not impose a state of emergency or adopt extraordinary measures to deal with present challenges and its commitment to deal with every one in accordance with Egypt’s laws.He expressed these views while giving an exclusive interview to Diplomatic News Agency (DNA), here on Wednesday.

He said, Egypt has also affirmed its commitment to right of the Egyptian people to organize peaceful demonstrations, as long as they do not pose a threat to national security or disrupt the daily lives of Egyptians.

‘Recent protests and sit-ins held in support of the ousted president claim to be peaceful demonstrations, but they have in fact resorted to violence and incitement to it. They have used firearms and Molotov cocktails and attached state institutions, most prominently military ones, as well as private property and individuals’.

It is for this reason that the Egyptian Council of Ministers, on 30 July, authorized the Ministry of Interior to take the necessary measures to end the Raba and Nahda-sit-ins, he added.

Giving more details about the prevailing situation in Egypt Ambassador Said Hindam said, the sit-ins constituted a substantial threat to Egypt’s national security. In recent weeks, a number of developments indicate that the Muslim Brotherhood is determined to escalate the situation and bring about an all-out confrontation with the security forces, the army and the broad mass of Egyptian people.

‘There are dozens of documented declarations by a number of senior figures in the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies that incite to violence and bloodshed , Mohamed El-Beltagi, a senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood and former MP, stated in a television interview that acts of violence taking place in Sinai will cease the very instant Mohamed Morsi returns to the Presidency’, he added.

Statements such as this one clearly implicate the Muslim Brotherhood in the acts of terrorism being carried out in Sinai. Shortly after Elbeltagy’s statements, violent events broke out in Sinai and other parts of the country, orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood’s jihadist allies.

“During a fiery speech at the Rabaa sit-in, Safwat Hegazy , an Islamic preacher and a leading figure at the sit-in, said “ I tell ( Minister of Defence Gen. Abdelfattah) El-Siss. All of these masses will disperse into groups of martyrs, and they will destroy you and destroy Egypt… “Displaying a clear and purposeful attempt at intimidating opponents and inciting supporters to resort to violence”, the ambassador added.

When asked to comment on the fallout of the statements issued by the protestors, Said Hindam said, at the smaller Nahda sit-in, regular incitements, documents, documented on recorded video, threatened that the removal of the former president from power will lead to the creation of an Egyptian Taliban, and will destroy Egypt and drown it in a sea of blood.

Supporters of the former president are also beginning to resort to measures that exceed incitement and inflammatory rhetoric. On July 24, a bomb was planted and exploded outside the Security Directorate of the city of Mansoura in the Dakahlia Governorate.

This event, which amounts to an act of terrorism, crossed a dangerous threshold. Participants at the Rabaa sit-in have also organized regular displays of force, parading with helmets and body gear and armed with sticks, batons, nunchucks, knives and machetes.

He said, the sit-in is known to be heavily armed; Residents have witnessed arms being buried in different locations, and suspect that rooftops are used to hide weapons.

‘Abundant video and photographic material of marches that start at the sit0ins document heavily armed demonstrators carrying knives, machetes, homemade firearms, shotguns, pistols and machineguns. Searches of individuals and vehicles entering the sit-ins have uncovered firearms and ammunitions. On July 31, a pick-up truck was intercepted and uncovered a large number of firearms, automatic weapons and ammunitions under a double floor’.

Further dilating upon the protests he said in further violation of the rights of residents and of the principles of peaceful protesting, sit-in participants have intensified their construction of defensive arrangements surrounding the demonstration.

They are using sandbags, walls built from tiles that have been disassembled from neighborhood sidewalks, ad trees that have been felled. These barricades block important roads, impending the daily floe of the life for citizens.

In addition to the danger they pose to national security, the sit-ins also constitute a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.

In a severe and unacceptable violation of internationally established children’s rights, participants at the sit-ins have been utilizing children in disturbing and inhumane ways as protestors and human shields.

A report by UNICEF was recently issued regarding the transgressions that have taken place against children in the demonstrations.

The report states that “Disturbing images of children taken during street portents indicate that, on some occasions, children have been deliberately used and put at risk as potential witnesses to or victims of violence.”

A demonstration was organized at the Rabaa sit-in with the participation of children aged between 6 and 12.Some of the children were made to wear the white burial shrouds in which Muslims are wrapped prior to burial, while others were given such shrouds to hold on their arms as a sign of their readiness to die. Shocking evidence has also emerged revealing that supporters of the former president and their sympathizers have been exploiting children recruited from orphanages.

He said the use and display of children in such a manner not only violates Egyptian law, but also a host of children’s rights conventions adopted by the Arab League, African Union and United Nations.

The ambassador said, the residents of the Rabaa neighborhood have also suffered heavily from the sit-in, which has been ongoing for more than a month, and has violated their fundamental rights. Residents are unable to move freely, unable to go to work, and sometimes unable to supply themselves with their basic dietary and medical needs, in addition to being subjected to searches.

‘Moreover, private gardens and other green areas have been taken over and are used as sleeping areas and as open-air bathrooms and toilets. It is suspected that contagious diseases may have appeared due to the lack of hygiene, which has reached dangerous levels.

Schools have also been turned into living quarters, and latrines have been haphazardly constructed in their courtyards. A large number of shops have been forced to close down and a gas station has been turned into a camping ground’.

In addition to threatening national security and violating human rights, these sit-ins also represent a major strain on the Egyptian economy, which is already undergoing significant hardships as a result of rampant mismanagement during the previous year.

Most prominently, the unrest and incitement to violence have a highly negative effect on Egypt’s vital tourism industry, one of the cornerstones of the Egyptian economy.

By taking the decision to end the sit-ins, the Egyptian government is meeting its obligations towards its citizens and the international communities, to protect the rights of citizens, preserve national security, and uphold internationally recognized human rights.

Egypt is determined to move forward with an all-inclussive political process free of violence, and the interim Egyptian government is committed to implementing the roadmap agreed upon by the country’s political forces, which stipulates that constitutional arrangements, parliamentary elections, and then presidential elections, are to be held in a period of 7-9 months.

Implementation of the roadmap within the timeframe determined by the constitutional declaration will pave the way for Egypt to establish a genuine and stable democracy in order to meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people, he concluded.=DNA

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