Revolution Youth Coalition leading members address press conference on Monday (photo: Zeinab El Gundy)
The Revolution's Youth Coalition held a press conference this afternoon where they distributed and read two statements regarding their stance on the anticipated 8 July protest at Tahrir Square and PM Sharaf.
The press conference, held at Cairo’s newest newspaper headquarters, The Tahrir, in Giza, was opened with a statement by coalition member, Sally Thoma, about the coalition’s dissatisfaction with what had been happening so far in the country. They also expressed the coalition’s dismay on how the revolution was being blamed for everything that has been going wrong, when it actually originated during the rule of ousted president Mubarak.
Thoma further criticised the military trials of civilians, and shared the group’s rancour against the fact that the PM has allegedly not been able to change the ministers in the cabinet.
Sally Thoma's statements were followed by two other coalition statements read by Islam Lotfy and Ziad Alimy.
The first statement was an open letter to PM Sharaf asking him to take a set of decisions this week to protect what the Egyptian revolution stands for and all of the efforts thus far undertaken. The revolution is often seen as being taken in vain because many of the ex-regime figures still wield power or if they are awaiting corruption trials, the judges keep postponing them.
In that same line, they demanded mass sackings, including that of Yehia El-Gamal, Sharaf’s deputy prime minister, and all other officials, from governors to ministers, who don’t adequately do their job. Also included in the list-to-sack are the police officers accused of killing and injuring the protesters. Punishment for all officers who are not doing their duty to protect society was another demand.
The group echoed the oft-demand to stop military trials of civilians.
The statement ended with an invitation to Prime Minister Sharaf to attend the upcoming 8 July protest at Tahrir Square.
The representatives of the coalition did not elaborate more about their meeting with the prime minister at his home two days ago, except to state that they invited him officially to join the protesters on Friday 8 July at Tahrir Square. According to the coalition the PM took the list of the 8 July demands and promised to reply by the end of the week.
The second statement was titled The Revolution First and started with the coalition's apology to the Egyptian revolution, the revolution's martyrs and the Egyptian people for engaging in the constitution first and elections first debate that divided the political scene in Egypt, when they should have paid attention to the security issue in the country.
The statement continued to list the demands of 8 July protest that most political powers agreed upon, including political demands, social justice demands, freedoms demands and security demands. Among these demands mentioned in the statement are giving more powers to the prime minister, setting a fair minimum and maximum limit for wages and pensions, protecting the families of the martyrs and restructuring the ministry of interior.
The coalition said that it supported a sit-in at Tahrir Square this coming Friday; however it will only attend if there is a consensus among the political groups and parties. If there is no sit-in, there will be continuous protest, preferably not only in Cairo but in other governorates as well.
Regarding the security of Tahrir Square Islam Wagih said that it is the responsibility of the police officers who are still sitting in their homes but that the other groups at Tahrir Square will secure not only the square, but the buildings at Tahrir Square, too.
When asked about what they will do if Sharaf does not join the protesters, the representatives answered that they will then negotiate the matter with the other political forces. The coalition revealed that it supported any move that would mobilise more people to join the protest on Friday and that it started to distribute fliers and paint pro- 8 July graffiti to support the protest. They are not the only group mobilising for the event, as April 6 youth movement has also started a blanket campaign.
The revolution youth coalition currently includes youth representatives from 21 political groups and parties and is one of the most active political coalitions that sprung from the January 25 Revolution.