Tagammu Chairman Rifaat El-Said held a press conference today where he praised the protestors who held yesterday one of Egypt’s largest demonstrations.
After calling for a moment of silence in honour of the reportedly three deaths that occurred yesterday, El-Said affirmed that, “Despite fabrications by the media, Tagammu remains a true opposition party” devoted to fighting for citizens’ rights.
After repeatedly criticizing the government as addicted to only fulfilling the demands of businessmen, he added that “the government is entirely disconnected from the feelings of the people” and that “if it had an atom of an intellect it would respond to the demonstrators' demands.”
El-Said also called for an immediate release of the demonstrators detained yesterday.
Asked why Tagammu members were not present at the demonstration, he affirmed that there were plenty of party members who partook and that the party had a significant presence.
Some reporters at the press conference noted that the leftist party had issued a statement the day before the protests arguing that Police Day, with its historic connotations for rising against British interference in Egypt, was an inappropriate date for a mass demonstration, and that Tagammu would not participate.
El-Said, however, insisted that while the party did not think the date of 25 January was ideal, it was still in full support of the demonstrations once they did occur. He added that the only reason why his party did not help with the coordination of the demonstration was because “we weren’t invited to.”
Later, when a reporter from privately-owned Al Shorouk asked him why he did not personally attend, he indignantly stated, “It is not necessary for party leaders to attend demonstrations, especially with my personal reasons, which I do not have to share with you.”
The party chairman went on to criticize Al Shorouk for fabricating anti-Tagammu stories, saying that the reporter would not have asked this same question of the Wafd’s Said El-Badawi “because you are biased against Tagammu.”
He later also told a reporter from the weekly Youm7 that, “I guarantee your paper won’t publish my statements because Youm7 only publishes things that harm Tagammu.”