Presidential hopeful Abul-Fotouh condemns state's 'apathy' to protect protesters

Ahram Online, Sunday 29 Apr 2012

Abdel Moneim-Abul Fotouh says state is obliged to protect peaceful demonstrators; protesters outside the ministry of defence were attacked on Saturday evening in Cairo leaving one dead according to some reports

Abdel Monem Abul Fotouh
Abdel-Moneim Aboul Fotouh (Photo: Reuters)

Presidential hopeful Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh condemned on his official twitter account on Sunday the state's reluctance to protect protesters that were attacked by unknown assailants near the Ministry of Defence late Saturday evening.

One protester has been reported dead and 30 injured as a result of the clashes near the Ministry of Defence, according to AP on Sunday.

"The protection of peaceful demonstrators is a state responsibility…remaining silent regarding the violent dispersion of a sit-in is a crime."

Shortly before midnight on Saturday, unknown assailants attacked tens of protesters who had been staging a sit-in since late Friday night near the Ministry of Defence headquarters near Abbasiya Square.

The protesters who included many supporters of the recently barred presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail as well as other activists were voicing their opposition to the decision by the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission to disqualify the Salafist preacher from the race for Egypt president which is set for May, and some demanded the military council hand power to a civilian administration.

The attackers used molotov cocktail bombs and cement bricks in their assault on protesters, and gunfire was also heard according to eyewitnesses.

A prominent Islamist activist, and a former leading figure of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh is also known for his liberal positions on social issues.

Abul-Fotouh announced in June 2011 that he intended to run for the highest office in Egypt.

Shortly after, he was expelled from the Brotherhood for violating a party decision.

Presidential elections will take place on 23 and 24 May, and the president will be named on 21 June after a runoff voting round on 16 and 17 June.

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