Egypt now a 'country for all' says Sisi on revolution anniversary
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday praised progress in the country over the past two years, saying it has changed from a nation for the Muslim Brotherhood "into a nation for all".
President Sisi’s speech heralded the fifth anniversary on Monday of the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak after more than three decades of rule.
Sisi, who in 2013 led a popularly-backed coup that swept the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood from power, said Egyptians were now led by a state that “respects the choices of the people”.
Sisi did not explicitly mention the Brotherhood – outlawed since late 2013 - but instead used the Arabic word for “organisation” that is most commonly applied to the group.
On Monday, the anniversary of the day when Egyptians began large-scale protests on a national holiday to celebrate the police, two people were killed in a police raid near Cairo.
Police raided an apartment in 6th of October City, a district of Giza just west of the capital.
Authorities said those killed were wanted for involvement in an explosion that killed nine people last Thursday during a previous police raid, and had fired on police during Monday’s swoop.
The day is widely expected to be subdued, with commentators in Cairo noting that few people are out on the streets.
During last year’s anniversary over 20 people were killed in a bloody day of nationwide protests.
This year a prominent broadcaster known to be close to the president warned that those planning to protest on Monday risked death.
Ahmed Moussa, whose controversial statements often make headlines, wrote in a Tweet on Saturday that “everyone who goes down to protest on 25 January will return home a lifeless corpse”.
On Monday morning there were reports of limited demonstrations taking place in Egypt, most of them organised by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Activists on the ground said police had used tear gas to disperse an anti-government demonstration in Baltim, a small town near Alexandria, with reports that a child was hit in the eye by a canister.
Translation: Tens of pick-up trucks are surrounding and entering Baltim now and firing large amounts of tear gas
Amnesty International said in a press release to mark the anniversary that Egypt was “mired in a human rights crisis of huge proportions”.
“Five years after euphoric crowds celebrated the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, hopes that the [revolution] would herald a new era of reforms and respect for human rights have been truly shattered,” said Amnesty’s deputy MENA programme director Said Boumedouha.
“Peaceful protesters, politicians and journalists have borne the brunt of a ruthless campaign against legitimate dissent by the government and state security forces.”