Failed Government Policies behind Escalating Protests

Failed Government Policies behind Escalating Protests

In what has come to be a common scene in Egypt protestors chant religious and anti-government slogans while clashing with security forces. Protestors demand the ousting of Interior Minister Habib el-Adly while Muslims and Christians alike from all walks including the Muslim Brotherhood, Kefaya, Ghad and other trends are demanding answers to the church bombings.

According to experts and human rights groups, failed government policies in dealing with sectarian tensions in Egypt are what have led to the rise in protests following the bomb attack. Opposition factions joined hundreds of Muslim and Coptic demonstrators to condemn the Alexandria attack amid tightened and heavy security.

Emad Gad, a political analyst at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic studies believes the protests are the result of years of discriminatory policies and sectarian practices by the government which produced an angry generation that no longer fears the state. He stressed this and the manifestation of sectarian practices that have spread throughout Egyptian society, as well as the failure of the state to adequately respond to previous incidents of sectarian violence.

Government reports and statements stress that the attack was an act of terrorism, taking advantage of existing sectarian strife. Gad cautioned that since various sectarian groups are not separated geographically, this trend threatens the stability of Egypt and could result in mass clashes. 

Spokesperson for the Kefaya Movement for Change, Abdel Aziz Al-Husseini, said that, although the movement was expecting more people to protest, given the significance of the Alexandria bombing, the attack has sparked Coptic activism. He added that although Copts have been avoiding political participation, the attack encouraged many to voice their demands for social and economic rights.

Gad highlights that the regime is concerned that opposition powers might take advantage of the current political activity of the Copts in order to integrate them into the national opposition movement. Muslims and Christians stood together in numerous protests, chanting pro-national and pro-Coptic slogans simultaneously.

It is expected under the current circumstances that the government will enforce the 30-year-old Emergency Law to impose even further restrictions on opposition groups