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Washington critical of Egypt crackdown on freedom
Washington critical of Egypt crackdown on freedom
The United States government repeatedly criticized the Egyptian government last week and called on the regime to respect freedom of expression, following the arrests that took place in downtown Cairo of activists from the Youth Movement 6th of April, which saw the arrest of dozens of protesters who were demanding political and constitutional reform
Sunday, April 11,2010 17:42
by Mohamed Abdel Salam BM&Ikhwanweb

The United States government repeatedly criticized the Egyptian government last week and called on the regime to respect freedom of expression, following the arrests that took place in downtown Cairo of activists from the Youth Movement 6th of April, which saw the arrest of dozens of protesters who were demanding political and constitutional reform.

The US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, at a news conference last Thursday said “the department believes that everyone must exercise the basic freedoms freely and all Egyptians should be allowed to play a real role in the open and transparent political process.”

This is the second time in which Washington criticizes Cairo over the arrest of protesters from the 6th of April movement in their continued support for the demands of Mohamed ElBaradei, to amend the Constitution.

Washington expressed concern about the handling of the Egyptian authorities with protesters after the events of last Tuesday, but Cairo has rejected such criticism and considered it “interference” in Egyptian internal affairs.

Crowley added that supporting freedoms “is a key element in our policy, it is also in Egypt’s interest in the long term and we will continue to defend free elections in Egypt.”

Hossam Zaki, Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, considered the elections as an internal Egyptian matter. He said that the remarks of the State Department “shifted, without clear justification, from addressing the arrests of some Egyptian Activists, to an internal Egyptian Political issue, in an unusual pattern that Egypt does not accept.” Zaki added that “Egyptians do not accept foreign governments to speak on their behalf.”

The security authorities arrested on Tuesday at least 33 activists in downtown Cairo, but the Attorney General issued orders for their release the following day after a short investigation.

The Egyptian government is very sensitive about external reporting on the opposition’s demands for political reform that allows transparent presidential elections in 2011.

Abdel Ghaffar Shukry, leader of the al-Tagamma’a Leftist Party told the daily independent newspaper al-Dustour that the Foreign Ministry’s comments on the American remarks are “an expression of the surprise that seized the Egyptian regime, which believes that President Barack Obama wouldn’t pay attention to the cause of democratization in Egypt,” pointing out that the “government attempts, by its comments, to prevent the re-occurrence of such remarks in the future.”

Shukry added that the American interest in Egyptian internal affairs will be determined “by the strength of the democratic movement for change and the extent of growth, especially after the presence of a character such as Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei,” who has revitalized a lot of “stagnant water.”

George Ishak, a leader of the Kefaya Movement and a spokesman of the National Assembly for Change, led by ElBaradei, believes that the American statements do not constitute interference in the affairs of Egypt, saying, “governments worldwide are critical of some negative practices, because democracy has become a universal value,” accusing the regime that suppresses demonstrations to “open the door to this international criticism.”

Ishaq added that “what happened to the young people on Tuesday made all international organizations move and condemn the security crackdown,” but he did point out that any global interest in the cause of democracy in Egypt “will not work unless the interest of the Egyptian people is at the same level.”

He added that democracy will be achieved “by the will of the Egyptian people.”

 Republished with permission from Bikya Masr

tags: US / ElBaradei / Obama / Egyptian Government / Washington / United States Government / 6th of April / Philip Crowley / Crowley / Hossam Zak / Egyptian Activists / Abdel Ghaffar Shukry / Al-Dustour / George Ishak / Kefaya Movement / Democracy In Egypt
Posted in Democracy , Activites  
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