Ashton condemns violence against peaceful demonstraters

Yasmine Fathi , Monday 19 Dec 2011

International condemnation of violent crackdown on protests in Egypt grows as EU foreign policy chief joins the chorus of alarm

Catherine Ashton
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (Photo: AP)

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has released a statement deploring the latest flare of violence in Egypt and urged all parties to exercise restraint.

Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission the Law also asked authorities to try to stop the clashes immediately.

“I urge all parties to exercise calm and restraint and strongly condemn the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators. Law and order must be ensured in a manner respectful of human rights. Security forces must protect the right of all citizens to peaceful demonstration, and to the freedom of assembly and expression,” Ashton said.

Ashton also stressed that she is “extremely concerned,” due to the recent clashes that erupted in Tahrir Square over the past days and the losses that resulted from these clashes.

“I deplore the loss of life and large number of injuries. I send my condolences to the families of the victims,” Ashton said.

The EU chief, also asked Egyptian governing authorities to launch an independent investigation and to punish all those who are responsible for the violence. However, Ashton, also stressed that Egypt’s three stage parliamentary elections, which began on 28 November, must continue for the democratic process which began after the ousting of President Mubarak must continue.

“Egypt is in the middle of a crucial and difficult transformation process," Ashton said. "The democratic electoral process should continue in a safe and transparent environment.”

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