By Nourhan Dakroury
Leaders and parties from across the political spectrum condemned the violence that erupted early Monday morning in front of the Republican Guard Club, resulting in the deaths of 51 people and numerous injuries.
The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb said in a statement that he would go into religious seclusion if the bloodshed does not stop.
Al-Tayeb said that officials should set a time limit for the transitional period in Egypt, explaining that it should not exceed six months.
He emphasised that national reconciliation is essential, adding that the media should appeal to the public as well.
Al-Tayeb stressed the need for prompt investigations and an immediate announcement of their results.
The Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) voiced Al-Tayeb’s demand to start “an independent investigation to uncover the circumstances and to punish officials for the development of events, regardless of their affiliation.”
The demand was also echoed by the National Salvation Front (NSF), the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights (EOHR), The Strong Egypt Party and the Tamarod (Rebellion) campaign, stressing that investigations must be transparent.
Mohamed El-Baradei, NSF leader, stressed the NSF’s demand to hold independent and transparent investigations, saying: “Egypt is in need for reconciliation with itself.”
El-Baradei added, “I strongly condemn violence in all forms against people irrespective of their beliefs or identity. The more peaceful, the stronger we become.”
NSF said in their statement that they condemn any attempt to assault the military buildings or personnel.
In their statement condemning violence, the EOHR said, “The stories differed as the events developed,” detailing that the military claimed they were attacked at the Republican Guard Club by armed groups, while the Brotherhood claimed that the armed forces shot at the protesters indiscriminately.
The statement read, “Despite of the different versions on the events, it is clearly visible that Egyptians have been killed, whatever their political, religious or ethnic affiliation, while protesting in front of the Republican Guard headquarters.”
The EOHR Head Hafez Abu Saada said in a statement that neither the 25 January nor the 30 June uprisings will succeed if all political parties do not unite and communicate peacefully.
The ESDP also condemned the violence that took place in front of the Republican Guard Club in a statement: “The party has stressed over and over the sanctity of Egyptian blood and has demanded all parties to maintain peaceful protests.”
The statement added, “[Maintaining peaceful events] applies to security and military forces as it applies to the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist officials, who have been inciting violence and terror, which has spread to all parts of the country these past few days.”
Sakina Fu’ad, advisor to the president for women’s affairs, said what happened at the Republican Guard Club is the “completion of the series of continuous killing that has not ceased since the people took to the streets [on 30 June] to voice their demands,” according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
Fu’ad stated she cannot believe that the armed forces would shoot at civilians. She claimed the event was only part of a plan in order to call for international intervention, under the cover of a call to support legitimacy.
Fu’ad stressed the importance of the Brotherhood being part of reconciliation talks and integrating once more with the Egyptian people.
NSF leader and head of Al-Tayar Al-Sha’aby Hamdeen Sabahy said: “It is the military forces job to defend the building and deal with anyone who attempts to attack it,” adding that the result of such an act puts Egypt “in a bad situation.”
Sabahy described what happened in front of the Republican Guard as “sad and very hurtful.”
The 6 April Front expressed their concern about what happened on Monday morning, saying that they completely respect Morsi supporters’ right to peaceful protests and called on the military to refrain from shooting before using tear gas or water to push demonstrators back.
Dar Al-Ifta’a also released a statement reminding people of the sanctity of Egyptian blood, calling upon officials to stop the bloodshed and to reunite people once again.
The Strong Egypt Party reiterated EOHR’s calls for peaceful communication, calling upon the Brotherhood to stop rallying people and to keep events peaceful.
The party also condemned the excessive use of weapons, which has caused a many fatalities in past and current protests.
Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, head of the party, said earlier that bloodshed is the responsibility of interim president Adly Mansour, adding that if he does not take responsibility he should resign.
Islamist Al-Wasat Party said in a statement that by shooting civilians, the military has defied its norms and “killed military honor.”
The Brotherhood’s political wing the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) described what happened as a “massacre” that has never been witnessed in Egyptian history before, calling on “the wise in the military” to put an end to the violence.
The party announced in the statement that bloodshed will make their beliefs stronger and called on the Egyptian people to “revolt against those who want to steal the revolution with their tanks.”
FJP also called on the civil society and all international organisations to intervene in order to stop any “more massacres and to drop the cover for the military rule in order not to create a new Syria in the Arab world.”
The Tamarod campaign called on all Brotherhood youth to denounce the ideologies of the Brotherhood leaders who call for “the burning of the country or foreign intervention.”
The campaign stressed that ever since they started collecting signatures to their petitions to withdraw trust from the ousted president Mohamed Morsi, they have been calling for peaceful demonstrations.
On the international level, Hamas officials condemned the violence and demanded an end to bloodshed, as reported by Al-Ahram.
British Foreign Minister Secretary William Hague called for “a swift return to democratic processes in Egypt,” adding that it is important for all political parties in Egypt to unite for a better economic and political future.
Hague called for free elections, where all parties can get a fair chance to participate in.
He also called for the release of all political leaders and journalists and for a prompt agreement on a constitution to assure “the checks and balances of a democratic system.”
“As a friend, the UK stands ready to continue to support the people in their desire for a better Egypt,” the foreign minister said.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry described the attacks as a violation of freedom of expression and of assembly, calling on the international community to support the Egyptian people in their “fight for democracy.”
In Tunis, Islamist Ennahdha Party issued a statement describing the event as “a heinous crime committed by the security services against unarmed civilians.”
The party called on all Egyptian to reject what they called a “coup” and to engage in a dialogue to prevent further bloodshed.