25 January is an honourable popular revolution: Egypt's president tells activists

MENA and Ahram Online, Wednesday 22 Jan 2014

Three days before the 3rd anniversary of the 25 Jan revolution, several youth activists met with interim leader Adly Mansour to complain of what they perceive as an attack on them by media

Adly mansour
Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour (Photo: AP)

Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour met on Tuesday with youth representatives of political groups.

According to a presidential statement, the four hour meeting was arranged to discuss a general sentiment among youth who took part in the January revolution that they are being targeted with an intense defaming campaign.

Some of the attendees accused several media outlets of launching a smear campaign against them. They also criticised the "poor performance" of the Egyptian state TV.

Private TV channels and newspapers known to be affiliated with the Mubarak's regime have been accusing activists of the January 25 revolution of being foreign agents or of being paid to cause unrest in Egypt.

One show, which has attacked 25 January activists, is "Black box" hosted by Abdel-Rehim Ali on private satellite channel Al-Qahera Wal Nas. In a series of episodes, Ali, who claims he possesses over 5,000 recordings, aired private calls of several prominent activists including April 6 founder Ahmed Maher, former MP Mostafa el-Naggar and founder of We Are all Khaled Said Facebook page Wael Ghoneim.

Ali claimed that these phone conversations prove the activists "conspired against state institutions."

According to a statement issued by the Rebel campaign, of which three of its members attended Tuesday's meeting, Mansour has slammed the media attack against revolutionaries as "political stupidity," saying a media code of ethics will soon be issued in collaboration with media figures and the National Council for Human Rights.

"In this era there is no say for the state over private satellite media, or else [Adly Mansour] will be accused of restricting freedoms and of being narrow-minded," added the presidential statement.

The interim president went on to stress that "January 25 is an honest popular revolution that was sparked by the youth and then joined by all factions of the society." Mansour added that the “June 30 revolution” came to put the January uprising back on the right track.

The meeting also tackled the role of the police, with many of the attendees accusing it of enforcing what they saw as "systematic measures" similar to the notorious ones practiced by the apparatus prior to the revolution.

Mansour, however, ruled out that any violence practiced by the police is systematic. He also requested a list of those claimed to have been randomly arrested without charges.

The meeting witnessed a divide in views over the controversial protest law. Some described it as a restriction of the right to protest, while other activists called for the necessity of its reinforcement “given the exceptional situation in the country.”

Since the law was approved in late November, tens of activists have been sent behind bars for protesting.

Mansour went on to urge those present to engage with society through political activities to ensure that no force solely dominate the political scene.

"You [the youth] should work on preserving the gains of the revolution that no one from the corrupt regimes should be allowed to obtain," said Mansour, who added that the differences between political groups, lack of organisation and failure to interact with the population could give a chance to "the unworthy to win the coming parliamentary elections."

Secretary general of the Egyptian Social Democratic party, Ahmed Fawzy, for his part, expressed his fear that the meeting was nothing but a "talk session," given that it had no agenda or intended outcome.

He added in a press statement that such meetings will not benefit or affect the youth, because talk would not be followed by action.

The meeting took place few days before the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution and was attended by several activists as well as members of the Salafist Nour party, the liberal Conference party, and the National Salvation Front.

A similar meeting was hosted by the interim government Saturday and attended by several youth activists in an attempt to understand why some activists were reluctant to participate in the referendum on the recently ratified constitution.

Several political groups, including the April 6 Youth Movement and Strong Egypt Party, refused the new constitution with the latter boycotting the referendum after some of its members were arrested for campaigning for a "no" vote.

The 2014 Constitution was approved by 98.1 percent of voters, as announced Saturday, replacing the 2012 national charter and marking the completion of the first step in the post-Morsi political roadmap, to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections within the next six months.


According to Mansour's constitutional advisor, it's now up to the interim president to decide which elections come first, on the condition that the second poll be staged within six months of the ratification of the constitution.

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