The presence of public water trucks, university buses and a privately rented helicopter at Saturday’s Islamist rally to support President Mohamed Morsy’s constitutional declaration have sparked allegations of governmental abuse of power.
Opposition activists were outraged after ONA news agency reported the presence of state-owned drinking water trucks at the rally in front of Cairo University.
However Hany, the director of the awareness department at the Giza Water and Sanitation authority, who refused to give his full name, denied that the trucks were there to provide protesters with drinking water. He claimed the water trucks were headed to poor villages in Giza that are without regular water supply, but were blocked from reaching their destination by the masses of protesters.
He added that the Water and Sanitation authority is a state-owned services authority, which is not entitled to provide protesters with water. “We only provide water for poor villages that do not have a permanent source of drinking water.”
Of the dozens of buses that transported protesters to the rally, activists published photos of buses belonging to Mansoura University, with the inference being that the government had provided the transport. The university could not be reached to comment however.
The presence of a helicopter flying above the protest led the secretary general of Al-Dostour Party to speculate that the government had facilitated its rental. Emad Abou Ghazy said the helicopter, which broadcast the rally live on the Islamist Misr 25 TV channel on Saturday night, would have needed a permit from the armed forces. “Even the police are not allowed to have helicopters,” he said. “How could the Islamists rent it?”
However the Freedom and Justice party spokesperson, Ahmed Sobei, said there was nothing wrong with renting a helicopter and that the media was spreading false reports about the rally. “The broadcasted video showed huge numbers of citizens supporting President Morsy’s decisions, which the media is trying to undermine,” he said. Sobei added that he was unaware of the procedures necessary to rent a helicopter, but said the helicopter was privately owned.
Tens of thousands of Islamists filled Al-Nahda Square at Saturday’s rally in a show of support for Morsy and to demand the implementation of Shari’a law.