Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour heaped praise Monday on three former Egyptian presidents from the armed forces in a speech marking the 61st anniversary of the 1952 revolution.
In a televised speech, Mansour, who took office on 4 July as part of an armed forces roadmap that also saw the ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi, said that Mohamed Naguib, Anwar El-Sadat and Gamal Abdel-Nasser were instrumental in pulling off the 1952 revolution.
"I salute the great men who opened the door of freedom and hope to Egypt and all people in the region," he said.
Tuesday 23 July marks the 61st anniversary of the revolution led by the Free Officers which overthrew the monarchy. The leaders of the Free Officers Movement included Naguib, El-Sadat and Abdel-Nasser, all of whom later held presidential tenures.
Mansour referred without elaboration to "mistakes that should not be justified, but with which peace must be made in order to build the nation."
While in charge in the 1950s and 60s, Abdel-Nasser came down hard on the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails.
In 1954, an initial honeymoon between Abdel-Nasser’s Revolution Command Council and the Brotherhood ended in a wide-scale crackdown on the group, which was then outlawed. A large number of Brotherhood leaders were jailed, some even facing the death penalty after being accused of involvement in an attempt to assassinate then-president Abdel-Nasser.
Tensions escalated again between the Brotherhood and the armed forces this month after the latter instigated the overthrow of Morsi, Egypt's first civilian president, following mass protests across Egypt on 30 June.
Mansour highlighted the importance of national reconciliation after the uprisings that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and his successor, Morsi.
"We had the great 25 January revolution and the 30 June revolution … now it's time to unite and reconcile to build the nation without revenge or hatred," he said. "There should be no division in the country."
The speech came amid ongoing Islamist protests led by the Brotherhood against what they describe as a "military coup."
Thousands of Morsi's backers have been taking to the streets since his ouster to demand his reinstatement. The area around Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City has been the site of a large pro-Morsi sit-in that has been in place since 28 June.