The Strong Egypt Party has expressed “strong discomfort” at action taken against an Egyptian kung fu champion, who was suspended from competitions this week after displaying support for pro-Morsi protesters.
Athlete Mohamed Youssef wore a t-shirt displaying the four-fingered symbol associated with the Rabaa Al-Adawiya protest camp while receiving a gold medal at a competition in Russia.
The symbol has been widely used by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi to commemorate the violent dispersal by security forces of the pro-Morsi sit-in in August. The dispersal left hundreds of protesters dead.
Egyptian kung fu association executive officer Gamal El-Gazzar told Al-Ahram Arabic website on Monday that Youssef will be suspended and prevented from representing Egypt at the upcoming kung fu world championships, which kick off on 27 November in Malaysia.
Strong Egypt Party spokesman Ahmed Emam said on Wednesday that the measures taken against Youssef were “arbitrary” and not based on any regulations or laws, and reflected negatively on the willingness of authorities to allow freedom of expression.
Since Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the military in July following mass protests calling for him to leave office, the country’s political life has been deeply polarised between followers of the new interim government and supporters of the Islamist leader.
Youssef told Ahram Online he "wore the Rabaa sign in solidarity with some of [his] friends and neighbours who died there. It was a message of loyalty to them and their families."
The Strong Egypt Party, founded by moderate Islamist and former presidential candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, has remained cautious in its support for the country’s interim authorities who replaced Morsi, in contrast to most leading political parties.
It has refused to join the 50-member committee tasked with amending the 2012 Islamist-backed constitution.