Amid unprecedented protests, the presidency addressed the nation through a televised press conference on Sunday.
Presidential spokesperson Ehab Fahmy said in the conference that although peaceful protests are a right guaranteed by the constitution, acts of violence are unjustified. Fahmy added that the protection of peaceful protesters was the responsibility of the government.
He called on Egyptians to listen to the voice of reason “during this historic moment,” adding that “preventing bloodshed is a duty.” He also stressed that that all members of the presidency recognised the value of each protester.
There are currently two main factions active in demonstrations on the streets: supporters of President Mohamed Morsi, and those who call for him to step down. “Regardless of their political orientation, protesters have rights and demands,” the spokesperson said.
Fahmy said that without dialogue and understanding, common ground over issues will not be reached, adding that the presidency is fully open for national dialogue with all political parties to “get the country out of the current polarisation.”
“The interests of the nation are above any other interests,” he said. “I cannot imagine that there is an alternative to dialogue,” Fahmy continued.
Fahmy also addressed the issue of sexual harassment stating “any Egyptian condemns these shameful acts,” adding that it was not characteristic of the Egyptian people.
The state will not tolerate these actions, he stated.
Fahmy mentioned the case of Dutch foreign correspondent who was sexually assaulted last Friday. “We informed the Ministry of Interior to immediately take the necessary measures and catch the assailants,” he said.
The presidential spokesperson’ s Facebook page announced that he is planning to hold two press conferences on Sunday. The second is scheduled to begin at 10pm.