Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali (Photo: Reuters)
Strict instructions have been issued to Egypt's interior ministry to arrest and prosecute anyone found taking part in attacks on public or private property, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said at a Monday press conference.
The presidential spokesman pointed to "recent attacks on the offices of certain political parties, government institutions, media outlets and places of worship," which he described as "a new phenomenon in Egypt."
Ali's comments came in the wake of Saturday's attack on the liberal Wafd Party's Cairo headquarters by Salafist activists. Earlier this month, the regional offices of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) were subject to attacks by unknown assailants.
"We condemned these attacks before and have called on all other parties to condemn them as well," Ali stated. While stressing the citizen's right to express his or herself, he added that such acts of violence and vandalism were "illegal and therefore unacceptable."
Ali went on to assert that no party or group should instruct its followers to attack the offices of their political rivals. Such actions, he said, "should be rejected by everyone."
On Saturday night, Mohamed Tharwat, managing editor of the Wafd Party's news website, stated that some 500 Salafist activists – whom, he alleged, were followers of prominent preacher Hazem Abu-Ismail – had attacked the party's headquarters in Cairo's Dokki district.
Tharwat told the media that attackers surrounded the building and sprayed it with fireworks before destroying several cars parked outside the building.
In early December, several offices of the Muslim Brotherhood and its FJP were attacked and set on fire by unknown assailants. The attacks coincided with violent clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi outside Cairo's presidential palace.
On Sunday, FJP Vice-Chairman Essam El-Erian stated that those who had attacked and torched the Brotherhood's offices were the "same elements" that had attacked the Wafd Party's headquarters.