Egypt Daily Update: Rights Groups, Activists Mark Raba’a Massacre Anniversary

August 14, 2017

Rights Groups, Activists Mark Raba’a Massacre Anniversary

Amr Moussa Denounces Calls to Extend Presidential Terms

Two Policemen Killed in North Sinai

Cartoon of the Day: Alexandria Train Accident

Top Stories


Rights Groups, Activists Mark Raba’a Massacre Anniversary

International human rights organization Amnesty International released a statement today to mark the four-year anniversary of the 2013 massacre of more than 900 protesters in Raba’a al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares in Cairo by security forces. The statement noted that “not a single person has been held to account for the events on 14 August 2013, […] instead hundreds who attended the protests, including journalists and photographers who were covering the events, have been arrested and are facing an unfair mass trial.” Amnesty’s Najia Bounaim stated, “President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime has been determined to wipe out all memory of the massacre of the summer of 2013. The dark legacy of this failure to bring anyone to justice is that Egypt’s security forces today feel that they will not be held accountable for committing human rights violations.” Activists commemorated the anniversary on social media, and journalists shared reports of the day. Mada Masr published a detailed account of the events that is availablehere.

The Egyptian government placed security forces on high alert prior to the fourth anniversary of the massacre, reportedly increasing police patrols, attempting to secure perimeters of all state buildings and well-known squares and sites in major cities, and increasing surveillance across the country. Though there were gatherings of Egyptians in other parts of the world to mourn the event, no protests or public gatherings were reported in Egypt.


Amr Moussa Denounces Calls to Extend Presidential Terms

Amr Moussa, former Egyptian foreign minister and the head of the 50-member committee that drafted the 2014 constitution, criticized [Ar] calls from pro-Sisi parliamentarians to extend presidential terms from four years to six years. Moussa said [Ar] that “Egypt needs to deepen stability, not create tensions” by amending the constitution. The politician and diplomat stressed that the country should focus on implementing the current constitution before looking to amend it. Moussa also added that “talk about amending the constitution in a presidential election year raises questions about the maturity of the political thought underlying it.”

Several Members of Parliament criticized [Ar] Moussa’s statement, emphasizing that the constitution is not a holy text, and is defective in many ways. MP Mei Mahmoud argued that there is no reason not to amend the constitution now, and denied that the extension of presidential terms was related to support for the president. She added that the constitution is not the “Quran from heaven,” and that amendments were a way to improve the text. MP Hilmi al-Sherif agreed that the constitution should be open to changes, and that it was the mandate of the Parliament to amend defective parts of the document.


Two Policemen Killed in North Sinai

On Saturday morning, two policemen were killed [Ar] and six others injured after a police vehicle was hit by a targeted roadside bomb explosion in the city of al-Arish in North Sinai. One of those killed was Hilmi Atta, a 39-year-old  officer, while the other was Ahmed Mohammed, a 22-year-old conscript. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Sunday, the Islamic State affiliate Wilayat Sinai announced through affiliated media sources [Ar] that one of its members, known as Abu Sayed al-Maqdisi, had been killed. IS-linked media reported that his given name was Ahmed al-Hallaq, and that he was from the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza. This is the second time that Wilayat Sinai has announced the death of a Palestinian fighter. There has been much concern over Hamas-linked militants from Gaza crossing  the border to join Wilayat Sinai.


Cartoon of the Day: Alexandria Train Accident

Right: “Alexandria Train Accident”
Top: “My father died in the al-Ayat train crash, and my mother died in the al-Badrashein train crash… How natural that I am dying in the Alexandria train crash!!”
Abdallah- Al-Masry Al-Youm – 08/14/2017


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