Mostafa Hegazy, spokesman for Egypt’s interim president, stressed Saturday that authorities have the right to do what is needed to defend the country’s sovereignty, even by using firearms if necessary.
In a press conference held at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo and attended by a good number of Egyptian and foreign reporters, Hegazy conveyed the president’s message in both Arabic and English.
“All sovereign states have the right to use force to restore law and order,” he said.
The conference took place after several days of deadly clashes between security forces and supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi who was ousted last month.
At the press briefing room, a short film in English was played to show the dispersal of the mass sit-ins led by the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo’s Nasr City district on Wednesday, which resulted in hundreds of deaths.
The film stressed that the sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque in eastern Cairo, which was the largest of the two pro-Morsi sit-ins, was anything but peaceful, highlighting the participants’ “determination to set society ablaze."
"Egypt has no other choice but to fight terrorism," according to the film, which earlier highlighted the failed political attempts to end the deadlock peacefully. "The intransigence of the Muslim Brotherhood prevented a peaceful end.”
Hegazy echoed similar sentiments, saying that: “the demonstrations turned into non-peaceful assemblies.”
“What happened on 30 June was the manifestation of Egyptians to end theological fascism that was depriving Egyptians of basic rights,” Hegazy said, referring to mass protests against Morsi’s rule which precipitated his ouster by the military on 3 July.
“Egyptians today are more united more than ever before ... against a common enemy... the acts of terror, the instigation of violence and the powers of evil that are trying to cripple our movement towards a civil state.”
Hegazy says that the fight against the "common enemy", in the "war of attrition" that has been launched by "the war of extremism," will be conducted not just by security measures but also by the rule of law “within the framework of human rights."
"Burning whole villages" and "killing people standing at their balconies" cannot be just qualified as a political dispute. “Nothing will deter us from continuing our path towards a constitution... we will fulfill our dues,” he said.
“International media has been ignoring the fact that the flag of Al Qaeda was carried by some at Ramses Square [clashes on Friday].”
“We are keen and welcoming to include all political parties as long as they have not been involved in instigating terror... we will combat extremism and terrorism... and we will make sure to continue our proper path towards democracy as we promised,” he added.
“Anyone from the Muslim Brotherhood who would like to come back and join the peaceful Egyptian march towards the future would be welcomed.”