About two dozen political parties, coalitions and movements have released a joint statement condemning the attacks on the Abbasiya March on 23 July, an incident they are dubbing the “Second Battle of the Camel.”
The statement said that the groups “strongly condemn the attacks on the peaceful march which started from Tahrir Square toward the ministry of defence to submit their demands to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.”
The statement then said that these “sinful” attacks, which left scores injured, took place without any interference from the observing military police or national security.
“This raises suspicions about how involved these security forces are in these attacks that were reminiscent of the Battle of the Camel, in which members of the now dissolved National Democratic Party and members of the old regime were involved,” the statement said.
The Battle of the Camel took place at the height of the 18-day revolt against ousted president Hosni Mubarak on February 2, when anti-government thugs riding camels attacked protesters in Tahrir Square.
The statement continued by calling on all responsible parties in Egypt, including the ruling military council and the government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to accept their share of accountability for these “crimes which will not be forgiven by history and not forgotten by the Egyptian people.”
Those who are responsible for the “second Battle of the Camel,” should remember that all those who orchestrated the “first Battle of the Camel” have been arrested and are being tried before an Egyptian public who will never forget those who were injured and martyred either bloody encounter, read the statement.
The group also asked the government to create a neutral committee to investigate the attacks on 23 July and insisted that Egyptian state media should be investigated for inciting hate against peaceful protesters and fabricating stories to justify the attacks on them.
Those who signed the statement include the Social Democratic Party, the Tagammu Party, the El Karama Party, the Popular Coalition Party, the Youth Revolution Coalition, the Union of Maspero Youth and the No to Military Trials movement.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information also released a statement demanding that the Supreme Council of Armed Forces apologize for the “fatal mistakes” made in dealing with the revolutionaries.
“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces needs to stop their campaign of inciting hatred and distortion against the political forces and movements fighting the country’s oppression. These are people who fought hard and paid a hefty price for ridding the country of the dictator Hosni Mubarak,” the statement said.
The ANHRI demanded that the military council “apologize for the repetitive, fatal mistakes conducted by their members, beginning with their denial last March that torture is being used by their apparatuses on Egyptian youth and ending with spreading suspicions about the April 6th and Kefaya Movements, as well as other civil society groups.”
The ANHRI said that the fact that members of the armed forces were not punished for torturing Egyptian youth, have encouraged members of the ruling military council to increase their attacks on both 6th of April and Kefaya who fiercely opposed the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. The military council, according to ANHRI, launched a campaign against the two movements on satellite TV channels, accusing them of creating tension between the people and the army and calling them enemies of Egypt. This, said the statement, caused a feeling of resentment against the march, which was launched to demand that SCAF bring justice to Egypt and conduct speedy the trials for members of the Mubarak regime and those accused of torturing and killing protesters both before and after the January 25 Revolution.
ANHRI added that General Hasan El Roweiny, a member of SCAF, led a successful campaign against the protesters that led the families of Abbasiya to attempt to violently end the peaceful protest.
They continued in the statement by saying that the ruling military council makes irresponsible statements on television without realising that their words may cause sectarianism and incitements of hatred towards various political forces who have long suffered against a repressive regime, while they (SCAF) stood silently watching atrocities performed by Mubarak and his “serial killer” minister of interior, Habib El-Adly, on the Egyptian people.
ANHRI added that that the Egyptian people are being forced to face military trials, while there is a deliberate sluggishness in bringing those who killed protesters during the revolution to justice. The continuing tenures of the prosecutor general and minister of justice, both of whom were rejected by the people, add to this offence.
“The SCAF needs to know that a nation that fought hard to regain its freedom will not allow any person or authority to take away its legitimate right to justice.”