CAIRO: Thousands of protesters gathered in Abbaseya Square on Friday in support of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), in protests dubbed “No to Vandalism.”
The protest was called for by independent movements including “I am sorry, Mr. President,” the March 19 Coalition, the Abbaseya Youth Coalition and the Silent Majority Coalition. The demonstration was also called for by Tawfiq Okasha, owner of the Faraeen Channel and its main TV host.
The “I am sorry, Mr. President” movement issued a statement calling for the protest and supporting the armed forces’ current role and responsibilities. The statement also claimed that there is a plan to create a rift between Egyptians and condemned any attempt to cast doubt over the actions of the armed forces as they are the last resort for Egyptians.
A main stage was set up in the square where demonstrators played famous patriotic songs and chanted: “The people and the army are one hand,” “No Kefaya and the April 6 movements who burnt our history in Tahrir Square,” “Those who love Egypt don’t burn it” and “The people want the Field Marshal’s leadership.”
Banners demanding the execution of famous TV hosts including Reem Maged, Mona Al-Shazly, Amr Adib and Lamis El-Hadidy, were also seen.
“Egypt is being targeted by America and Israel, however, Egypt is protected by its army and that’s why they are targeting it too,” Okasha said in a speech he delivered.
“Burning the historical documents defining Egypt’s geography, that were stored in the Scientific Complex is part of a plan to introduce fake maps to divide Egypt into two countries in the first phase and three countries afterwards,” Okasha theorized.
“Will you allow the Americans and Israelis to step over your bodies?” Okasha asked the protesters. “All Egyptians are supporting the Egyptian army.”
“This protest is organized by all Egyptians; no movement or coalition is in charge,” Youssri Salah, an engineer told Daily News Egypt. “We are here to offer our apologies to the armed forces for the encroachments they suffered whether verbal or physical.”
“We also demand the trial and punishment of those involved in the Cabinet clashes and the burning of the Scientific Complex” Salah added.
“We have so many internal and external problems that we cannot afford any conflict with armed forces; Egypt has lost more than LE 600 billion this year,” Hassan Al-Ghandour, an entrepreneur and one of the organizers, said. “Tahrir Square is now only known for drug dealing, arms and sabotage,” he added.
Hoda Sultan, shop owner, claimed that the girl who was shown in videos and pictures being dragged and stripped by military forces had already planned this incident beforehand. “I saw and heard the girl, before being beaten, arranging for the whole incident together with four other young people.”
The iconic video showing a veiled girl being dragged, stripped and brutally beaten by over five uniformed soldiers has triggered an international outcry.
“I came to Abbaseya to support legitimacy and democracy,” Mohamed Samir, Dean of the Banha High Institute for Social Service, told DNE. “A small group of thugs in Tahrir Square will not rule Egypt,” he added.