Political powers move to suspend Friday protests

Heba Fahmy
4 Min Read

CAIRO: A number of political powers decided to halt all mass protests on Friday and called on Egypt’s opposition groups and youth to do the same, following the arrest of ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons on Wednesday.

Egypt’s Prosecutor General announced Wednesday the 15-day detention of the country’s former president and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, pending investigations into accusations of corruption, abuse of power and profiteering in an unprecedented investigation of a former ruler in the Arab world.

“We will give a chance to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to execute the rest of the people’s demands,” prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood and former MP, Mohamed Al-Beltagi, told Daily News Egypt following a press conference at the Journalists’ Syndicate on Wednesday.

“We will follow up on the investigations of Mubarak and others to make sure they are serious,” El-Beltagi added.

“These investigations remove all the suspicions against the army and the government and represent a new victory for the people,” Islamic scholar and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Safwat Hegazy, told DNE.

The conference included representatives of the National Association for Change (NAC), the coordinating committee for the people of the revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution, Al-Ghad and Al-Wasat Party and Al-Karama Parties under formation.

The panelists congratulated the Egyptian people for the success of the revolution and the investigation of Mubarak and his sons “with no gloating intended.”

“The first civil prosecution of an ousted president in the Arab world will occur in Egypt,” bestselling Egyptian novelist and member of the NAC, Alaa El-Aswany, said during the conference.

El-Aswany said that in revolutions, corrupt leaders are usually executed in public.

“Despite Mubarak’s heinous crimes against the Egyptian people, he will have a civil trial that protects his civil rights,” El-Aswany added. “This is an ultimate victory for Egypt’s revolution and there’s no turning back.”

“We are against all military trials even if they are for prominent figures of the former regime,” El-Beltagi said.

The panelists called for the release of all political detainees and those who were prosecuted in military courts and detained by the army.

They also called for transparent and swift investigations into the army crackdown on Tahrir Square on April 9, which left one protester dead and 71 injured.

The political powers issued a joint statement on Wednesday describing the bloodshed in Tahrir as a “conspiracy” by the members of the former regime, in a bid to divide the people and the army.

They condemned the eight military officers for joining the protesters in Tahrir Square while in uniform to call for the resignation of Field Marshal Hussein Tantwai, head of the SCAF. They also defended the people’s right to peaceful demonstration.

The panelists stressed the unity between the people and the army and the army’s willingness to heed the people’s demands and protect the revolution.

The panelists said that the thousands who protested in Tahrir on Friday pressured SCAF to interrogate Mubarak. However, they added that Mubarak’s speech provoked the people and the Prosecutor General, in reference to his recent audio message broadcast by pan-Arab Al-Arabiya news channel.

The panelists said he spoke with a tone of “superiority” as if he were still president.

At the end of the press conference Al-Beltagi said that Egypt’s political powers will discuss whether they will call for mass protests in Tahrir on April 22 if their demands aren’t met by the army.

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