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.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • B.C. Liberals to refund $93k for indirect donations, cites clerical errors

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The British Columbia Liberal Party says it has found 43 so-called indirect donations worth almost $93,000, which it plans to reimburse. The information comes as the RCMP is already reviewing possible violations of the B.C. Source
  • After health care bill’s withdrawal, elation and anger

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Some Americans breathed a sigh of relief, others bubbled with frustration, and nearly all resigned themselves to the prospect that the latest chapter in the never-ending national debate over health care would not be the last. Source
  • Health-care havoc: Trump's 1st legislative test a 'big loser' that puts his agenda on shaky ground

    World News CBC News
    So much for the hard-bargaining American president's ultimatum on repealing Obamacare. Donald Trump's first major legislative push veered into a ditch on Friday, denting his image as a master negotiator and dealing an embarrassing blow to his young presidency's momentum. Source
  • Aid group fears hundreds of migrants drowned off Libya

    World News CTV News
    MADRID -- Hundreds of migrants may have died off Libya's coast, a Spanish aid organization said Friday, and Turkish media reported that 11 migrants died after a boat sank in the Aegean. Video footage from DHA in Turkey showed a half-dozen covered bodies that were laid out near ambulances. Source
  • SPCA in Alberta says about 100 small-breed dogs removed from home

    Canada News CTV News
    LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - The Alberta SPCA says about 100 dogs have been removed from a home in Lethbridge. The SPCA says in a news release that officers visited the home based on a tip from the public earlier this week. Source
  • Jailed Philippine senator says she 'won't be quiet' about President Duterte

    World News CBC News
    The most vocal critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte could be stuck behind the lime-green walls of a Manila prison for a long time. "Rot in jail" was the destiny the president predicted for his nemesis, Senator Leila de Lima, who has loudly and vigorously objected to his crackdown on suspected drug users and dealers, which has resulted in more than 7,000 deaths. Source
  • Man sentenced in death of pregnant ex-girlfriend in Hawaii

    World News Toronto Sun
    HONOLULU — A judge sentenced a man Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole in the murder of his ex-girlfriend who disappeared while pregnant with his child in Hawaii. A jury previously convicted 27-year-old Steven Capobianco of second-degree murder in the death of Carly “Charli” Scott. Source
  • 2 killed, 22 injured in fight between Mexico union factions

    World News CTV News
    FILE -- A man checks his cell phone as he stands guard in a commercial zone in the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) Source
  • Shooting in northern France injures three

    World News Toronto Sun
    PARIS — Police say three people have been injured in a shooting in the northern French city of Lille. Witnesses told police that an unidentified assailant opened fire near a metro station Friday night before fleeing, according to two Lille police officials. Source
  • U.S.-led Mosul airstrike may have killed over 100 civilians

    World News CBC News
    Iraqi rescue workers continued pulling bodies from the rubble of a collapsed building in the al-Jadida neighbourhood of Western Mosul on Friday. According to eyewitnesses, the building, which was being used as a shelter by people fleeing ISIS militants, was hit by a coalition missile. Source