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Morsi affirms right to protest peacefully at security meeting

President Mohamed Morsi meets with high-ranking security officials amidst ongoing unrest

Ahram Online, Tuesday 29 Jan 2013
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Views: 778

President Mohamed Morsi held a meeting with several security officials late on Tuesday at the presidential palace in Cairo.

Attending the meeting were the Ministry of Interior General Mohamed Ibrahim, as well as the heads of national security, state security, general security, and the heads of security for Cairo and Giza governorates.

Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali stated in a press conference following the meeting that the president told security officials present that the right to protest peacefully is a constitutional right, and asked the security apparatus to secure these protests.

"The president asserted that the role of the ministry of interior is to protect society...which will require a strict response to those who challenge the law," said Ali.

According to Ali, the minister of interior presented a detailed report on the events that have taken place since Friday, explaining the strategy of the ministry and highlighting the elements required to improve its performance.

The country has been witnessing intermittent violent clashes and riots since Friday, the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution. At least 50 civilians and three police officers have died as a result of the violence.

According to security sources, at least 296 protesters have been arrested since Friday.

The number of dead rose dramatically in the coastal city of Port Said after a court sentenced 21 locals to the death penalty, finding them guilty of involvement in last year's Port Said football killings when more than 70 fans of Ahly football club were killed. 

Subsequent clashes with police in Port Said led to the killing of 39 people, as well as two police officers.

As a result of the situation in Port Said and neighbouring cities Ismailia and Suez, which also witnessed clashes and riots, a local state of emergency was declared and a curfew was imposed by President Mohamed Morsi.

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