Prime Minister Hesham Qandil expressed his sorrow on Friday for statements he made which were deemed offensive to the people of Beni Suef.
His statements referred to the “ignorance” of the women of Beni Suef, claiming the reasons why breastfeeding babies get diarrhoea is that their mothers do not wash their breasts properly before feeding them.
The prime minister expressed his sadness and sorrow for the manner in which his statements were “falsely portrayed”, reported state-owned Al-Ahram. Qandil said that the statements were taken out of context and presented immaturely. He claimed he was attempting to shed light on residential areas in order to stress their need for necessary care.
Qandil said he was sorry for any negative feelings the people of Beni Suef suffered due to “this premature section of the video”. He added that his strong ties with the people of Beni Suef surpass any attempts of “defamation, bidding, nitpicking or taking words out of their context”.
Qandil’s expression of sorrow caused further protest in Beni Suef. Families blocked the Eastern Desert Road following Friday prayers, reported Al-Ahram. Ehab Khater, the 6 April Movement (Ahmed Maher Front) coordinator in Beni Suef, said demonstrators took to the streets, refusing Qandil’s apology.
“It’s a lean apology,” Khater said. “He didn’t even own up to wronging the people of Beni Suef. The apology didn’t come out in an official tone.”
The 6 April Movement prepared a presentation on Sunday evening to show the people of Beni Suef Qandil’s statements, Khater said. On the same day a large rally of protesters blocked the railway connecting Cairo to Upper Egypt for an hour. The movement also began last week collecting signatures for a petition calling for the trial and political disenfranchisement of Qandil.
Qandil’s statements caused nationwide outrage as several opposition figures accused him of offending the women of Beni Suef. During the same address, Qandil also made controversial statements about women subjected to rape in the countryside while their husbands were performing prayer.