Political parties welcomed the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution with concern from both the side that supports the state security policies and the one that views these policies as being behind the current political state in Egypt.
Days before the anniversary, security agencies performed pre-emptive raids in Cairo’s downtown area, surrounding the revolution’s iconic Tahrir Square. These included arrests and raids on thousands of homes, sending a message that the days of revolutionary protests in the heart of Cairo are over.
“Egyptians seek to preserve their country and will not allow disturbance to the general sentiment, which rejects protests,” Secretary General of the Conference Party Amin Rady said in a Monday statement.
The party, founded by former Hosni Mubarak-era minister Amr Moussa, hailed in its statement the 30 June uprising that brought in the current regime after a year of the Muslim Brotherhood rule, claiming it is “a rock that broke down international plots”.
“A celebration of the anniversary should be through hard work, pushing forward efforts towards development, and preserving the national security of the country,” he said.
The Salafist Al-Nour Party’s chairman, Younes Makhioun, said the party rejects calls for protests on 25 January, calling on citizens not to respond to these calls, as “the situation in Egypt cannot handle [protests], Egypt is threatened by internal and foreign plots, and is in need of a state of stability”.
Makhioun addedthat such events “are usually abused by certain entities to ignite chaos and violence”, result in clashes that lead to bloodshed. “There are other ways for those who want to demonstrate to correct mistakes they see and expressing opinions in a peaceful manner,” he said.
On the other end of the spectrum, Al-Dostour Party said the fifth anniversary of the revolution comes in the absence of achieving its goals. “Even more, it is under attack from the backers of the decaying regime,” it said in a statement on Monday.
“What we are experiencing now, in terms of moving backwards on all levels – socially, politically, economically, and constraining the public sphere – prompts us to uphold the goals of the 25 January Revolution, out of belief in the people’s right to a civil democratic rule that achieves freedom, social justice and human dignity,” according to the statement.
Ahead of the anniversary, there were virtually no calls for demonstration from outside the Islamists and pro-Brotherhood camp. However, the party said that despite the party’s stance of not participating in demonstrations, to avoid “the shedding of blood of the innocent youth”, it will not refrain from supporting youth who want to commemorate the anniversary with peaceful protests.
The Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) said after five years of the revolution, Egyptians “live in a state of constraint on the public sphere, and attacks against civil society organisations”.
According to the ESDP, security agencies are to blame for the current state of events, along with “the unconstitutional legislations that have continuously been issued in the past years.”
“We announce our party’s, and all the democratic forces’, upholding of the revolutions demands and goals,” the statement read.
The party also called for counteracting the “phenomenon” of forced disappearances, stopping torture, releasing those imprisoned without a crime, and ending the use of pre-trial detention as a punishment.