International Crisis Group Warns of Socio-Economic Riots in Egypt

Port Said AFP.jpg

The International Crisis Group issued a conflict alert on Egypt on Monday.

The report states, week-long clashes and protests erupting after the sentencing of over 20 Egyptians to death in the case of the Port Said Massacre “are symptomatic of a larger trend — erosion of respect for governing institutions. In the Suez Canal Zone and the Nile Delta, protestors have violently targeted administrative buildings, symbols of an authority viewed as removed, arbitrary and impotent. The collapse of the police and increased porosity of borders with Libya and Sudan, thus a marked increase in the illegal trafficking of light arms, further enable street violence.”

ICG places responsibility both on both President Mohamed Morsi and the group from which he hails, the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as on opposition groups unwilling to compromise.

A faltering economy, a consistently deteriorating security situation leading to some police officers considering abandoning ranks, reports of police torture, and a renewed image of CSF brutality all at play, ICG warns, “one should not be surprised to see larger segments of the population joining in socio-economic riots.”

ICG also calls for several key changes:  for opposition to drop calls for Morsi to step down, recognizing his electoral legitimacy, and for Morsi to address the revision of Egypt’s constitution, the new electoral law, and the formation of a coalition government after parliamentary elections. The platform for these changes, according to ICG, is continued national dialogue building on the al-Azhar talks, which took place last week.

Security reform has also been called for:  “Security sector reform broadly construed — including mechanisms to ensure accountability and justice for victims of police brutality; training in crowd control; but also measures to restore law and order — needs to be tackled, and soon.”

Read the full report here.

Photo: AFP

Image: Port%20Said%20AFP.jpg