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Sisi fears ‘nobody but Allah’ in a state ‘engaged in reform not corruption’

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the opening session of the 30th Arab League Summit in Tunis, Tunisia on 31 March, 2019 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi attends the opening session of the 30th Arab League Summit in Tunis, Tunisia on 31 March 2019 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi warned on Sunday of the consequences of instability in Egypt and attempts to “destroy” the country after a number of limited protests took place in some governorates on Friday evening. The Egyptian President used a speech at the inauguration of an oil refinery in the Mostorod area of Qalyubia Governorate to tell the audience, “I thank all the Egyptians who did not respond to the calls of those who try to stir up chaos.”

This was a reference to calls for mass protests made by an opposition activist and former army contractor living in exile, Mohamed Ali, which were met with a limited response in some governorates on 20 and 25 September.

Al-Sisi said that there are some people who try to take advantage of the poor and the difficult financial situation faced by Egyptian citizens in order to make them “question the achievements” of the state. He pointed out that the state is “engaged in reform and not corruption” and insisted that he personally fears “nobody but Allah and works for the good of Egypt.”

Security and stability are a prerequisite for economic development and continuing reform, explained Al-Sisi. He noted that several projects such as the Mostorod Refining Complex have been delayed for many years “due to the 2011 events”, the revolution that toppled the late President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s September protests: Indications and signs

He warned that there are people who “attempt to destroy countries under the pretext of change”, and suggested that these belong to political Islam movements in the Arab world.

A civilian was killed during clashes with police on Friday night in the village of Al-Blida near Ayat, about 60 kilometres south of Cairo, during an anti-Sisi demonstration, according to medical sources. According to pro-Muslim Brotherhood media in Egypt and other Arab countries, people participated in anti-Sisi demonstrations in a number of villages.

This type of protest has become a rare sight in Egypt since the coup authorities imposed “crippling” restrictions on public gatherings, and launched a crackdown against all opposition groups. This has all been recorded by international human rights organisations.

The Egyptian military overthrew the democratically-elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, when Al-Sisi was Minister of Defence. He was duly elected president the following year and then re-elected for a second term in 2018. Morsi died in a Cairo courtroom last year after being denied appropriate medical treatment.

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