Egypt warns against unrest on anniversary of uprising

CAIRO -- Egypt's president, speaking ahead of next week's anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, vowed on Saturday to unleash a firm response to any unrest and to press ahead with the fight against Islamic militants.

See Full Article

Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi spoke at a ceremony marking Police Day, which falls on Jan. 25, the day the uprising began five years ago.

He posthumously decorated nearly 40 policemen killed in militant attacks, including eight generals and three colonels. Most of the widows who received the medals were accompanied by their children, including infants. El-Sissi, his eyes frequently welling up, carried the infants, hugged and kissed older children and posed with them for photos. He allowed several family members, including a boy no older than 12, to briefly address the large gathering.

Addressing the nation, el-Sissi said of those killed in terror attacks: "Don't let their blood go in vain and, by the way, we will not allow that ourselves, and I am saying that so everyone listens and takes note," he said.

"The security and stability of nations are not to be toyed with," he said, adding that the security of Egypt was the responsibility of all Egyptians, not just the police and the army. El-Sissi delivered his 30-minute address standing in the middle of the families of the policemen killed in terror attacks, with the sound of crying babies occasionally heard in the background.

El-Sissi, who as military chief overthrew in 2013 Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, has presided over a sweeping crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of Islamists and scores of secular, pro-democracy activists who fuelled the 2011 uprising. He was elected to office in 2014 with a landslide.

El-Sissi made no mention of the January 2011 uprising in his comments. He has in the past paid tribute to the uprising, just as he has done to the so-called "June 30 revolution," the day in 2013 when millions of Egyptians demonstrated on the streets against the rule of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. However, some of el-Sissi's supporters in the media and in politics have taken to publicly vilifying the 2011 uprising as an attempt by foreign powers to weaken Egypt through local saboteurs.

The nearly two-hour ceremony, with its many emotional moments and high praise for police, confirmed the president's panache for populism, but also appeared to send a multitude of political messages. Foremost among these is that el-Sissi has endorsed the nation's highly militarized police force, paying no heed to growing complaints by rights activists that it has gone back to Mubarak-era practices like torture, random arrests and the use of excessive force.

The high praise of the police for their role in the fight against the militants and securing stability also signal the complete return of respectability to a force that melted away in the face of the 2011 uprising's protesters and took at least two years to fully shoulder its responsibilities again.

The posthumous decorations also offered a rare insight into the heavy toll endured by the police in the fight against the militants. Hundreds of army soldiers have been killed by the militants too, but the military has been secretive recently about its losses.

Egypt has been battling Islamic militants in Sinai for years, but attacks against security forces have significantly increased in frequency after Morsi's ouster and later spread to the mainland, with assassinations and bombings. The latest of these came Thursday when a bomb killed six people, including three policemen, in Cairo's twin city of Giza. The Egyptian affiliate of the extremist Islamic Group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The president spoke a day after the army said it would beef up security measures to safeguard vital installations and "confront any attempt to violate the law, impact the nation's security and stability." The announcement came amid an ongoing crackdown on dissent ahead of Monday's anniversary. Authorities have visited and searched as many as 5,000 apartments in the past 10 days, primarily in central Cairo, seeking to prevent protests. The administrators of several Facebook pages suspected of links to the Brotherhood have been detained and accused of using social media to call for protests.

Most secular and liberal pro-democracy activists are not expected to take to the streets on Monday to mark the anniversary, with many saying that doing so would only add to the number of protesters killed or detained by police. Morsi supporters, however, have been calling for protests, but these are likely to be restricted to neighbourhoods where they maintain a heavy presence, not landmark squares or main streets.

Police have shown zero tolerance for anti-government street demonstrations since Morsi's ouster and, in view of el-Sissi's comments Saturday, are not likely to change that policy on Monday. However, there are fears that militants might take advantage of the anniversary to stage attacks against security forces.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Judges in Alta. custody case ordered boy not to wear girls clothes in public

    Canada News CTV News
    MEDICINE HAT, Alta. -- A gender identity expert says judges need more education after two Alberta family court judges ruled a child born a boy can't wear girls clothes in public. Kris Wells, with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, says the case shows some judges need their attitudes challenged and corrected. Source
  • Liberals to bring Yazidi survivors of ISIS genocide to Canada within 4 months

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal government is committing to take urgent steps to bring Yazidi refugees to Canada within four months. Immigration, Refugees and CItizenship Minister John McCallum announced during question period today that Liberals will support a wide-ranging motion from the Opposition Conservatives to help survivors of ISIS genocide. Source
  • Dog trapped in well for almost a month showing strong will to live: vet school

    Canada News CTV News
    SASKATOON -- A chocolate Labrador retriever trapped in a well for almost a month is responding to special care from animal medical clinicians and a nutritionist. Seven-year-old Bruno is listed as stable in the intensive care unit at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. Source
  • Alberta taps climate change fund to help farmers reduce CO2 emissions

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta is tapping into its industrial carbon levy fund to help the farm sector reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The province says it will spend $10 million to expand existing programs that encourage producers to use energy efficient equipment and solar power. Source
  • Woman dies after allegedly throwing herself onto highway to escape abusive husband

    World News Toronto Sun
    An Oklahoma mother of five hurled herself out of a moving car allegedly to escape her abusive husband, friends say. Brianne King, 33, was riding in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle being driven by her husband Michael Muller, when police suspect she opened the vehicle door and threw herself onto a busy highway last Tuesday, according to local station KFOR-TV. Source
  • Why one piece of evidence mattered so much in Dennis Oland murder case

    Canada News CTV News
    From the earliest days in Dennis Oland's murder trial, the Crown faced an uphill battle to convince jurors that a precarious balance of circumstantial evidence added up to a guilty verdict. Nonetheless, in December jurors found the member of the clan that owns Moosehead Breweries guilty of the second-degree murder of his father, as family members wept loudly in the Saint John courtroom. Source
  • Teens arrested after students beaten, horse punched at Philadelphia university

    World News CTV News
    Philadelphia police say they've arrested four teens on assault charges in flash mob attacks around Temple University in which college students were beaten, an officer was knocked down and a police horse was punched in the face. Source
  • Protesters occupying Muskrat Falls site putting themselves at risk: Nalcor

    Canada News CTV News
    MUSKRAT FALLS, N.L. -- The Crown corporation in charge of the Muskrat Falls megaproject says it is worried about the safety of protesters who broke into the sprawling construction site on the weekend. Stan Marshall, CEO of Nalcor Energy, issued a statement today saying about 50 protesters entered the Labrador site Saturday and occupied an accommodation complex, prompting the company to remove about 700 workers from the grounds. Source
  • South African opposition says ICC withdrawal is illegal

    World News CTV News
    JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's main opposition party on Monday tried to block a government plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, saying the move is illegal and that the country's top court should intervene. Source
  • Suspect in Oklahoma cop shooting posts taunting video online

    World News Toronto Sun
    OKLAHOMA CITY - Authorities are hunting for a man suspected of killing his aunt and uncle, shooting two police officers, stealing a patrol car and carjacking other vehicles in a violent rampage in the Oklahoma City area, all while apparently taunting law enforcement via social media. Source