Egypt's Social Democratic Party apologises for SCAF meet

Ahram Online, Wednesday 23 Nov 2011

SDP chief Abou El-Ghar 'truly sorry' for yesterday's meeting with SCAF, says Tantawi's address failed to mention promised concessions

Abou El-Ghar
Mohamed Abou El-Ghar

Egypt's Social Democratic Party (SDP) announced Tuesday night that it was “truly sorry” for participating in a meeting between Sami Anan, vice-president of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), and a handful of political figures earlier the same day.

In a statement issued last night following a televised address by SCAF chief Field-Marshal Hussein Tantawi, SDP president Mohamed Abou El-Ghar said Tantawi’s speech had ignored a number of points that had been agreed upon at the meeting.

Abou El-Ghar went on to express his party’s sorrow for the intense gas attacks on Tahrir Square protesters launched shortly after the meeting – a meeting, he noted, that had been intended to put a stop to attacks on protesters.

"It was agreed at the meeting that the violence would stop immediately and that an apology would be issued to the Egyptian people and to the Tahrir Square protesters, and that the injured and dead would be immediately compensated," said Abou El-Ghar.

The party leader went on to say that SCAF officials at the meeting had promised to hold swift trials for security personnel involved in killing or injuring protesters, yet none of this had been mentioned in Tantawi's address.

"After quickly reaching an agreement with the SCAF on this issue, we were surprised when Tantawi's speech did not include any apologies or any reference to compensation or trials,” he said.

Abou El-Ghar concluded the statement saying, "I’m truly sorry for having participated in the meeting with the SCAF."

After police and military units broke up a Tahrir Square sit-in – with unexpected ferocity – on Saturday morning, Egyptian protesters took to the streets in the tens of thousands. Since then, four days of running battles between activists and security forces on the streets of downtown Cairo have left at least 28 dead and thousands injured.

The latest round of violence sparked a nationwide outcry, culminating in a million-man demonstration in the square on Tuesday. Violent confrontations between police and protesters, meanwhile, continue to be reported in a number of governorates, including Alexandria, Suez and Mansoura.

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