Egypt: warning that security forces must not use excessive force tomorrow
General Sisi’s call for street protests must not lead to more violence
The security forces in Egypt must do more to protect protesters from violent attack and avoid the use of excessive force against peaceful gatherings, Amnesty International said as Egypt braces for major rival political rallies tomorrow.
A call by General Abdel Fatah Sisi, Minister of Defence, for mass street protests tomorrow to grant the army a mandate to quell “terrorism and violence” has raised fears of further bloodshed in the coming days. The call was backed by the Tamarud campaign which coordinated the protests that led to former president Mohamed Morsi’s removal. Supporters of the deposed president will also hold a rival rally tomorrow.
General Sisi’s call raises concerns that the security forces may be preparing to use force to end sit-ins and demonstrations by Morsi’s supporters. On 8 July, at least 51 pro-Morsi protesters were killed in the vicinity of the Republican Guard Club in Cairo as a result of excessive and disproportionate lethal force by security forces.
All told, more than 180 people have been killed in violent clashes or other political violence since 30 June, when mass demonstrations were held calling for the fall of former President Mohamed Morsi. Since then political violence has escalated between supporters and opponents of the deposed President leading to an increasing loss of life.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:
“The security forces have repeatedly failed to protect protesters, bystanders and residents from attacks by armed assailants.
“Continued failure to properly police rival street protests will lead to further bloodshed and an escalation of human rights abuses.
“Given the security forces’ routine use of excessive force, such a move is likely to lead to yet more unlawful killings, injuries, and other human rights violations.”
In recent days Amnesty has documented the repeated use of firearms by both opponents and supporters of the deposed president, including in the cities of Cairo and Mansoura. The organisation is urging leaders across the political spectrum to denounce human rights abuses by their supporters and call on them to end violent attacks on rival protesters.