Attacks on Peaceful Protesters in Egypt Condemned
Washington, DC — Human Rights First is concerned by violent attacks on peaceful protesters outside the presidential palace in Cairo. According to press reports, police and security forces stood aside as supporters of President Morsi violently attacked protesters. “In the wake of the attacks, President Morsi should speak out against any use of violence against peaceful protesters and to uphold the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to protest peacefully,” said Human Rights First’s Neil Hicks. By claiming exceptional powers through his November 22 constitutional decree, President Morsi has removed all checks on his powers through the judiciary, creating a dangerous situation where critics of his policies have no other option but to take their grievances to the streets. There is a great risk of violent confrontation that could spiral out of control between supporters of rival political factions. Today’s decision by Muslim Brotherhood supporters to confront and even attack opposition protesters shows the danger in the current situation. “President Morsi should immediately take steps to defuse this potentially explosive situation,” Hicks observed. “He should amend his constitutional decree to restore the independence of the judiciary. He should also reach out to the leaders of the opposition to negotiate an agreed way forward that will restore Egypt’s transition to democratic government to a peaceful track.” This week, during a Human Rights Summit hosted by Human Rights First in Washington, DC, the organization released a blueprint titled “How to Make Change in Egypt a Human Rights Success Story.” The document details steps Congress and the Obama Administration should take to ensure human rights and progress in Egypt following the Arab Spring uprising.