Thirty-five political groups officially boycott military dialogue

Sherif Tarek , Wednesday 1 Jun 2011

A signed statement lays out the groups' reasons for boycotting a series of meetings with the much criticised Supreme Council of the Armed Forces

The Egyptian military council
The Egyptian military council (Photo by Al-Ahram)

Thirty five political groups and parties have turned down the Supreme Council of the ‎‎Armed Forces’ invitation for a series of meetings that should start today. They have ‎signed a ‎statement to officially announce their rejection.‎
The April 6 Youth Movement, the Revolution Youth Coalition, the National Front of Justice ‎and Democracy, the Union of Maspero Youth, Tahrir Doctors (the Field Hospital) and the ‎Progressive Revolution Youth group are among the most prominent of the groups to boycott the dialogue.‎

Their statement read as follows:
‎“Dear members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, your invitation to the ‎revolutionary movements for meetings and a direct dialogue, which came in [the ‎council’s] 60th and 61st statements, made us happy as it represents a turning point in the ‎relationship between the council and the revolutionary movements.

‎“We were missing the adoption of the revolution's demands, which resulted in forming ‎laws and policies that contradict with the revolution’s principles. Therefore, we appreciate ‎any attempt to fulfill the revolution's demands in accordance with the wish of the ‎protesters. And we have the following reservations about your invitation:

‎“1- We cannot accept the fact that the dialogue is conducted amid military trials for the ‎protesters, excesses committed by the military police and a lack of transparency in investigations ‎over these excesses – as what happened in the aftermath of the March 9 sit-in. ‎Also we object to participating in the dialogue with active laws that penalise strikes, ‎protests, peaceful sit-ins and freedom of speech, which were enacted by your council that ‎also criminalise talking about the military to the media.

‎“2- The invitation did not mention what the aspects or topics are, or the ground rules by ‎which the dialogue will be conducted, like what happened in the previous official dialogues which allowed ‎the remnants of the former regime to sneak in and that led to chaos, and we do not want ‎to be responsible for this. ‎

‎“3- The invitation was made in a hurry and there was no time – [only] 48 hours – for ‎feedback or for the groups’ members to discuss it.

‎“4- Asking for the attendance of any ten persons from any group that claim they are from ‎the revolution movements is a form of chaos and media publicity, which does not provide ‎the minimum terms for a national dialogue. The gathering of a thousand youths on a ‎stage without prior agreement makes the meeting pointless.

‎“5- We categorically refuse to separate the revolutionary movements from the rest of the ‎national forces as it weakens the revolutionary forces.

‎“The invitation of the revolutionary movements did not reflect seriousness, and so we ‎cannot accept this invitation … we call for a reconsideration of the interpretation of the ‎dialogue in order to come up with a program that is capable of making such an important ‎dialogue work.”   ‎

The No for Military Trials campaign and the Popular Committee to Defend the Revolution ‎also refused to take part in the dialogue but did not sign the petition.‎
‎  ‎
The dialogue seems to be an attempt by the ruling military council to clear the air after ‎facing a torrent of criticism and allegations of late. ‎

The introduction of several controversial legislations by the military council, as well as a lack of action against ‎toppled president Hosni Mubarak and other figures of the former regime – all detained on ‎multiple ‎charges of corruption – enraged the revolution youths.‎

On the other hand, other groups accepted the invitation for the dialogue, which kicks off ‎today, to be among the thousand participants. These include the National Association ‎for Change and its affiliates, ‎ the Free Revolutionaries Front, the Alliance of Egypt’s Revolutionaries and the Free Egypt ‎Revolution Coalition.‎

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