Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (Cairo)

Egypt: Protests Turn Violent

press release

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) is deeply concerned about the violence witnessed in Egypt yesterday.

Supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi clashed with opposition protesters outside the presidential Etihadia palace on Wednesday in the fiercest violence of the country's two-week-old political crisis, pelting each other with stones and molotov cocktails and intensifying the pressure on Egypt's embattled new government.

Each side accused the other of stoking the violence outside the palace, which health officials said left 6 dead people and more than 446 people injured. The opposition is demanding that Morsi rescind a Nov. 22 decree that granted him sweeping powers to legislate without oversight and that he abandons a contentious draft constitution that he has pushed toward a national referendum next week. A disparate group of opposition leaders vowed Wednesday to widen their protest until Morsi backs down.

EOHR stresses on the importance of guaranteeing peaceful assembly rights to all the Egyptian groups in accordance with the international human right standards in general and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in particular. Article 20 of the declaration of progress and development in the social fields issued by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1969, emphasizes this right. The demonstrations and sit-ins are legitimate rights of citizens constitutionally and legally. Peaceful demonstration as is the case in all the world countries is naturally acceptable, especially if it does not harm the day-to-day interests of citizens.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the head of EOHR, calls upon the prosecutor general to immediately open investigations on the violent incident. The real perpetrators have to be referred to the criminal court as soon as possible and their referrals must be supported with real evidences emphasize that they are the real perpetrators.

EOHR calls for immediate and urgent investigations on the calls made by speakers on satellite television channels to their supporters to go to the street, which turned Etihadia courtyard into something like a war area. Infighting among the Egyptian people reminded by the famous "Camel Combat" occurred on Feb. 2, 2011, and on the basis of which Hosni Mubarak regime fell.

EOHR calls upon all the Egyptian political powers to respect the right to peaceful protest, which is based on civilized rules and respect others' opinions. It calls also for stopping taking the Egyptian citizens to infighting and aggression against one another. EOHR also calls upon the state to provide the suitable climate for the exercise of democracy and access to social justice, and to deal with all the Egyptian parties as partners in this country. The political decisions must be taken mutually.

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