MENASource|News, Analysis, Perspectives

January 25, 2016
About 100 people gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Monday, not to celebrate those who instigated the revolt there five years ago that overthrew Egypt's longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, but to praise the police who tried to stop them. Government supporters chanted pro-police and army slogans, and handed flowers to police personnel stationed in the square. The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, had called for week-long protests on Thursday, and small protests by their supporters in several governorates on Sunday and Monday were dispersed by police forces. Monday morning saw protests in Sharqiya, Fayoum, Menoufiya, MatareyaKafr al-Sheikh, and Qalyubiya. Dozens of Morsi supporters, mainly women, chanted against the police and army in four different districts in Alexandria, Raml, Amereya, Borg al-Arab, and Montazah. Protests were also held Sunday night in Alexandria in al-Qaed Ibrahim mosque. Demonstrators set off fireworks before being dispersed by riot police. The Democratic Current parties—the Constitution Party, the Popular Current, the Karama Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, and the Socialist Party—said they would not participate in any public events. Politicians and media figures, meanwhile, took to Twitter Monday to mark the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the January 25 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak’s government. “Be confident that the revolution shall become victorious,” tweeted former vice president and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei. Twenty-seven public figures also signed on Saturday a statement demanding the release of activists arrested within the last two weeks on accusations of planning mass protests. The statement also called on the state to cease the stringent security measures implemented ahead of the January 25 anniversary. Notable signatories include Bassem Youssef, Alaa al-Aswany, Osama Ghazly Harb, and George Ishak. Hossam Bahgat, an investigative reporter who was recently detained by Egypt’s military intelligence agency, said, “This is without doubt the worst we’ve ever seen,” citing restrictions on media outlets, a spike in the number of political prisoners, forced disappearances, and alleged extrajudicial killings of Islamists by the state. [ReutersDNEAhram Online, 1/25/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Hero of Egypt's uprising feels rejected five years on | Reuters
  • Egypt 5 years on: was it ever a 'social media revolution'? | The Guardian
  • State TV bans pro-25 January presenter | DNE

POLITICS


Sisi praises January 25 revolution ahead of fifth anniversary
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi praised the January 25 revolution during a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. Despite a pro-state media rhetoric that largely vilifies the 18-day revolt that ended the 30-year rule of autocratic leader Mubarak, Sisi reiterated that the revolution was necessary to "revive the values that the country had lost for years." Sisi said, “We celebrate today the anniversary of the Egyptian people’s revolution where the country’s best youth paid with their lives to push for new blood in Egypt.” Sisi said that the deviation of the revolution’s goals came from people who tried to take credit for it themselves by taking advantage of the momentum to accomplish personal interests, rather from the people who started it. "The people who revolted for their freedom and dignity [on January 25] corrected the path and vision on June 30 [2013]," Sisi said. In a speech on Saturday marking national Police Day celebrations Sisi vowed to avenge the deaths of slain police officers. He said that Egypt appreciates the sacrifices of the police and its role in implementing law and order, adding that the police is fighting against extremism and “evil” with the help of the Armed Forces. Sisi also addressed the parliament’s rejection of the civil service law, describing the law as an attempt to reform the country, which the president stated was not an easy task. “Before giving your final word, study the [law] carefully,” he said, addressing parliamentarians. During the speech, Sisi also advised Tunisian protesters decrying unemployment to abstain from the activity as the days-old turmoil in Tunisia triggered a nationwide curfew by the government on Friday. [Ahram Online, DNE, AMAY, SIS, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, 1/24/2016]

State committee says Brotherhood plotted security reshuffles, judicial overhaul
A day before the fifth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, a state committee charged with appraising the assets of the banned Muslim Brotherhood accused the group of planning to “Islamize” the state during their year in power. "Files show that the country was actually led by the supreme guide and the guidance office of the Muslim Brotherhood, which gave direct orders to the cabinet and the presidency," committee head Ezzat Khamis said Sunday. He said they found evidence of attempts to overhaul the Interior Ministry and judicial system. He added that the Brotherhood “aimed at dissolving the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) and decreasing its members down to only 11.” The documents also purportedly included suggestion to besiege the parliament, the Shura Council and the US Embassy in Cairo, and announced a plan for “civil disobedience,” as well as their plan to amend the law governing judicial power, according to Khamis. Khamis said the committee would refer its evidence to the prosecution for investigation. He also announced that the committee has so far frozen the assets of 105 schools, 43 hospitals, 29 medical associations and 1,125 other associations linked to the Brotherhood group. The aggregate value of the seized assets is equivalent to $1.1 billion. Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Zind meanwhile said the names of secret members allegedly affiliated to the Brotherhood currently working in high governmental positions will be announced in a press conference Sunday. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, DNE, 1/24/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Egypt parliament speaker discusses media laws with press syndicate delegation | Ahram Online

COURTS

Activists Maher, Adel, Douma given six months in absentia for assaulting police
April 6 Youth Movement founders Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel, along with activist Ahmed Douma, have reportedly been sentenced to six months in absentia for allegedly assaulting police officers during their trial in 2013, according to Douma’s wife Nourhan Hefzy. Hefzy told Mada Masr she found out about the sentence while visiting Douma on Saturday. The three renowned activists are already serving a three-year sentence for organizing an unauthorized protest and vandalizing public property. On March 10, during a trial session for the trio appealing their convictions for illegal protesting, rioting, and thuggery among other charges, the defendants told the judge they were assaulted by a group of police officers, and insisted on filing a complaint. The officers in turn filed a similar complaint against the activists. Hefzy told Daily News Egypt that she and Maher’s family are set to take legal action against the recent verdict. Yasmine Hossam Eddin, Douma’s lawyer, said she also received the news of his sentence from Hefzy, and has yet to confirm it with the Prison Authority. She told Mada Masr that the fact they were sentenced in absentia leaves room for an appeal, although she believes the sentence was handed down in absentia on purpose so Adel and Maher are not eligible for a presidential pardon. She intends to inquire about the case and the verdict, which she considers “unacceptable.” [DNE, Mada Masr, 1/24/2016]

Also of Interest:
  • Court reverses decision to ban MP Tawfiq Okasha from media | Mada Masr
  • Eight referred to disciplinary tribunal for damage to King Tut's golden mask | Aswat Masriya, AP, DNE
  • Mubarak’s chief of staff offers EGP1.8 million settlement for illicit gains | AMAY
  • Court lifts travel ban on Al-Masry Al-Youm founder Salah Diab | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Lawyer demands lifting of media gag on Hesham Geneina's case | Aswat Masriya

ECONOMY

Egypt said to get $20 billion of oil products from Saudi Arabia
Egypt will get about $20 billion in oil products from Saudi Arabia over five years, according to an unnamed government official. As part of the agreement, the countries finalized a three-month oil deal worth $1.5 billion that was negotiated earlier this month. The agreement is the latest in a series of Saudi pledges of economic support for Egypt. On Sunday, Saudi Minister of Finance Ibrahim al-Assaf and Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr met for the Egyptian-Saudi Arabia Coordination Council’s fourth meeting. Final versions of a number of memoranda of understanding between Egypt and Saudi Arabia were signed, Nasr said. [Bloomberg, 1/24/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Egypt's EGAS says BP liquefied natural gas cargo postponed, denies payment trouble | Ahram Online
  • BP Egypt says LNG shipment was diverted to manage peak demand | Reuters
  • Natural gas suppliers consider suspending Egypt contracts after payments missed | WSJ
  • UN World Economic Outlook: Economic, political stability improved in Egypt | DNE
  • Egyptian market closes Sunday with gains following region-wide upward trend | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt's Juhayna boosts Q4 net profit by 85 percent | Reuters
  • Metro smart cards generate revenue of EGP 1 million over a month | Aswat Masriya
  • EBRD to provide Egypt $260 million in direct financing to SMEs in 2016 | DNE
  • Russia, Egypt to sign MoUs during economic committee meeting | DNE
  • Egypt and Russia to form alliance for silos and grain storage | DNE

SECURITY

Five killed in exchange of fire with police on January 25
Police forces killed two people in 6th of October City in an exchange of fire. According to state newspaper, Al-Ahram, security forces raided an apartment after receiving information that two assailants involved in attacks in Giza's Haram district were located there. The two men shot at police officers as they attempted to arrest them, according to the newspaper, leading security forces to respond with deadly force. The Interior Ministry also said it received reports of an individual storing explosives in an apartment in Kerdasa. Police forces reportedly engaged in an exchange of fire with the suspect, Mohamed Abdel Hamid, eventually killing him. Another alleged member of the Muslim Brotherhood was also shot in Kerdasa, according to a statement by the ministry. In Beni Suef, a man was killed as he attacked a police checkpoint, according to Al-Ahram. [Mada Masr, Ahram Online, DNE, 1/25/2016]

Egyptian army, police step up security measures on January 25
Security measures reached a peak on Friday when the armed forces deployed forces to Cairo and a number of governorates to aid police in securing key areas such as highways and public squares, including Tahrir Square. Security forces also closed on Monday all entrances to the Interior Ministry in downtown Cairo, as well as the streets leading to the Giza Security Directorate. The Sadat Metro station in Tahrir Square was also closed Monday, at the request of security authorities according to Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation Spokesman Ahmed Abdel Hadi. In North Sinai, a security source said the governorate would be closed to all but registered residents, workers and students until January 29. On Monday, an improvised explosive device (IED) was disarmed in Alexandria after civilians reported a suspicious object in al-Max Street. On Friday, police detained a reporter for nearly three hours, while reporting on police activity on Gama’at al-Dowal Street in the Mohandessin neighborhood. In his first media appearance, Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, meanwhile, said January 25 is not a cause for fear among the police, in a televised interview on Saturday night. [DNE, 1/25/2016]

Three killed in Egypt's Delta governorate of Sharqiya
Three people were killed and two injured on Sunday when unknown assailants attacked a checkpoint located in the governorate of Sharqiya, Al-Ahram reported. A security source revealed that the assailants, riding two motorcycles, attacked a security checkpoint located in the town of Fakous, killing three people and injuring two passersby. According to Al-Ahram the three fatalities were low-ranking policemen. According to Al Masry Al Youm, two policemen and a civilian were killed, and four people were injured. Security forces have set up checkpoints and sent out patrols to comb the site and identify the perpetrators. [Ahram Online, AMAY, Aswat Masriya, 1/24/2016]

Also of Interest

INTERNATIONAL

Sisi and US General Lloyd discuss anti-terrorism measures
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reiterated his commitment to the international effort to fight terrorism in a meeting with General Lloyd Austin, commander of the US Central Command. Sisi addressed the spread of terrorism in the region and methods to stop the arrival of foreign militants. According to a statement released by the presidency, Sisi proposed a broad international cooperative framework to fight terrorism by security measures and by social development. [DNE, 1/24/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Egypt FM Shoukry in UAE for joint Arab meeting | Ahram Online
  • Egypt condemns Israel’s decision to seize lands in West Bank | DNE
  • Egypt condemns 'vicious' terrorist attack in Somalia | Ahram Online
  • Shoukry delivers message on regional affairs in Amman | DNE
  • Sisi discusses latest GERD developments with Irrigation Minister | DNE, SIS
  • Egypt calls for adequate representation for Syrian opposition at Geneva II | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Egypt parliament speaker to receive Russian ‎delegation Tuesday | Ahram Online
  • Top Russian MP eyes resumption of flights, tourism with Egypt | Reuters
Minor protests, celebrations mark January 25 anniversary 
About 100 people gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Monday, not to celebrate those who instigated the revolt there five years ago that overthrew Egypt's longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, but to praise the police who tried to stop them. Government supporters chanted pro-police and army slogans, and handed flowers to police personnel stationed in the square. The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, had called for week-long protests on Thursday, and small protests by their supporters in several governorates on Sunday and Monday were dispersed by police forces. Monday morning saw protests in Sharqiya, Fayoum, Menoufiya, MatareyaKafr al-Sheikh, and Qalyubiya. Dozens of Morsi supporters, mainly women, chanted against the police and army in four different districts in Alexandria, Raml, Amereya, Borg al-Arab, and Montazah. Protests were also held Sunday night in Alexandria in al-Qaed Ibrahim mosque. Demonstrators set off fireworks before being dispersed by riot police. The Democratic Current parties—the Constitution Party, the Popular Current, the Karama Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, and the Socialist Party—said they would not participate in any public events. Politicians and media figures, meanwhile, took to Twitter Monday to mark the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the January 25 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak’s government. “Be confident that the revolution shall become victorious,” tweeted former vice president and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei. Twenty-seven public figures also signed on Saturday a statement demanding the release of activists arrested within the last two weeks on accusations of planning mass protests. The statement also called on the state to cease the stringent security measures implemented ahead of the January 25 anniversary. Notable signatories include Bassem Youssef, Alaa al-Aswany, Osama Ghazly Harb, and George Ishak. Hossam Bahgat, an investigative reporter who was recently detained by Egypt’s military intelligence agency, said, “This is without doubt the worst we’ve ever seen,” citing restrictions on media outlets, a spike in the number of political prisoners, forced disappearances, and alleged extrajudicial killings of Islamists by the state. [ReutersDNEAhram Online, 1/25/2016]

Also of Interest
  • Hero of Egypt's uprising feels rejected five years on | Reuters
  • Egypt 5 years on: was it ever a 'social media revolution'? | The Guardian
  • State TV bans pro-25 January presenter | DNE

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