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I signed Al-Azhar document to reject violence: Sabbahi

Ahram Online, Friday 1 Feb 2013

Egyptian Popular Current founder and former presidential contender Hamdeen Sabbahi released a statement on Thursday clarifying his position vis-a-vis an Al-Azhar-proposed initiative to end Egypt's political crisis and ongoing violence. The initiative, launched early Thursday, had triggered an uproar among some revolutionaries who perceive it as an attempt to criminalise protesters and legitimise security crackdowns on demonstrators.

"I signed the [Al-Azhar] document to reject violence, which I believe is not the path to our revolution, which defeated [ousted president Honsi] Mubarak and [former interior minister Habib] El-Adly's Central Security Forces with their naked chests and bravery," he declared.

Sabbahi went on to say: "I assure you that I did not sign a deal that would equate the killing of the martyrs at the hands of the state and the angry reaction of protesters that it triggered."

He went on to stress that he would not engage in dialogue with the ruling government until those responsible for killing revolutionaries were put on trial, adding: "We [the opposition] will not be striking deals at the expense of the blood that has been shed or at the expense of the revolution."

Sabbahi finally called on all Egyptians to join the anti-government rallies planned Friday. The National Salvation Front (NSF), of which Sabbahi is a founding member, announced that "peaceful marches" would set out for the Presidential Palace in Cairo's Heliopolis district to reiterate "demands of the revolution."

Among these demands are the dismissal of the current government, amendment of the recently-approved constitution and the appointment of a new prosecutor-general.

A statement released by the NSF calling for protests further condemned the "use of the same repressive security practices employed by the old regime to suppress Egyptians' resentment against President Mohamed Morsi's policies and the Muslim Brotherhood," the group from which the president hails.

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