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Sisi warns protests could 'destroy' Egypt ahead of revolution anniversary

President accuses opponents of trying to 'ruin' Egypt by calling for mass protests on fifth anniversary of 2011 uprising
Egypt's President Sisi addresses a press conference earlier this month (AFP)

Egypt’s President set out a stark warning on Tuesday against holding protests to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2011 revolution, saying they risked “destroying” the country.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, speaking during a speech to mark the celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, asked, “Why am I hearing calls for another revolution?”

“Why do you want to ruin [Egypt]? I came by your will and your choice and not despite it,” Sisi said during a speech at al-Azhar, the most prominent Sunni Islamic institution in the country.

Various opposition groups, including the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, have put out calls for mass protests on 25 January 2016 to mark the five-year anniversary of an 18-day revolution that eventually toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

Twenty-three people were killed and 97 injured during protests to mark the date in 2015.

Warning against a repeat of the four-year anniversary’s violence, Sisi urged Egyptians to “look around to nearby countries, some of which I don’t like to name, which have been suffering for 30 years and have not been able to return [to stability]”.

“States that have been destroyed do not come back.”

Responding to the speech on Tuesday prominent left-wing activist Wael Kandil warned that it represented “a tacit call for a rerun of the Battle of the Camel,” a historic clash that ushered in what is now known as the first civil war between Muslims.