Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Egypt leader blames unrest on 'civilizational gap'

12 February 2015, 07:00

Cairo - Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has shrugged off the killing of protesters by police and other human rights abuses, telling a German magazine that there is a "civilizational gap" between his country and Germany, where security forces and demonstrators are more "responsible."

Egypt has waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent since el-Sissi overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013, with hundreds of demonstrators killed in clashes with security forces and thousands jailed.

The police have come under renewed scrutiny following the shooting death of a female protester last month during the dispersal of a small, peaceful rally in downtown Cairo and a stampede outside a soccer stadium this week set off by police firing tear gas into a narrow, crowded corridor, which killed at least 22 people.

In the interview published on the English website of the German magazine Der Spiegel on Monday, el-Sissi said critics of Egypt's human rights record narrowly focus on freedom of expression, ignoring that millions of Egyptians want better education, jobs and shelter.

When the interviewers pointed to the mass killing of Morsi supporters during a crackdown on two Cairo sit-ins in 2013 , el-Sissi said if the police didn't move in to break up the gatherings, civilians would have done so, leading to "10 times" more deaths.
Also Read:Egypt leader on the defensive after 'mocking' Gulf allies

Rights groups say government forces used excessive force to break up the mass sit-ins, killing at least 620 people in one day. The government said the sit-ins disrupted public order and accused the protesters of stockpiling arms.

"I am not ashamed to admit that there is a civilizational gap between us and you," el-Sissi told the magazine.

"The police and people in Germany are civilized and have a sense of responsibility. German police are equipped with the latest capabilities and get the best training," he said. "And in your country, protesters would not use weapons in the middle of the demonstrations to target police."

He went on to blame the violence on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, which he linked to radical Islamic groups.

El-Sissi also defended Egypt's judiciary in the face of criticism of mass death sentences for Islamists and the trial of journalists on terrorism-related charges.

On Wednesday, Egypt's highest appeals court overturned death sentences for 36 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government has labelled a terrorist group, and ordered a retrial. It's the second time in two months that the Court of Cassation reversed death sentences handed down to Islamists in mass trials condemned by rights groups and Western governments.

El-Sissi said he wishes to serve just one four-year term, and that Arab rulers should listen to their people.

"Even if only a million people demonstrate in the streets against a ruler, he should step down. But in our region, that hasn't yet registered in the consciousness of rulers."

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...