Spokseman of people's assembly Saad El Katatni (Photo: Reuters)
Saad El-Katatni, Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) MP and speaker of the People's Assembly, held an emergency joint meeting with four committees of the assembly (on human rights, youth, health and national security) Thursday to discuss the situation in Egypt after clashes that erupted in Abbasiya Wednesday left at least seven dead, according to the Ministry of Health. Unconfirmed reports coming from field hospitals in the area suggest the number of deaths could be higher.
El-Katatni blamed "the authorities failing to do their job" for the clashes. He added that all responsible authorities that failed to protect protestors would be held accountable. He stated that the People's Assembly will never abandon the right of any Egyptian citizen to protest.
El-Katatni suggested releasing a statement condemning attacks on demonstrators and asserting that security forces were negligent, demanding an immediate investigation by the government and the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) as they have "full responsibility towards these unfortunate events."
El-Katatni warned that Egypt might fall into chaos and that would complicate the process of transfering power to a civil authority after presidential elections scheduled for 23-24 May.
El-Katatni said that the lack of transparency and slow speed of progress in trials following violent events in Port Said, Maspero and Mohammed Mahmoud Street are the reason why such tragedies continue to happen.
Unknown assailants attacked protesters in Abbasiya in the early hours of Wednesday with cement-based bombs, stones, Molotov cocktails, birdshot guns and teargas canisters, according to eyewitness reports.
El-Katatni called for a joint meeting Wednesday, shortly after the Abbasiya events.
El-Katatni had announced last week the suspension of all activities in the People's Assembly — the lower house of the Egyptian parliament — until 6 May in protest at the continuance in power of the government of Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri against the wishes of the parliamentary majority.