Secretary Clinton Condemns Attacks on Demonstrators and Journalists in Egypt

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
February 3, 2011

More:Information for U.S. Citizens Currently in Egypt | Public Service Announcement

Before participating in a signing ceremony with Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke about the attacks on peaceful demonstrators and journalists in Egypt. The Secretary said:

"We condemn in the strongest terms attacks on reporters covering the ongoing situation in Egypt. This is a violation of international norms that guarantee freedom of the press and is unacceptable under any circumstances. We also condemn in the strongest terms attacks on peaceful demonstrators, human rights activists, foreigners, and diplomats. Freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press are pillars of an open and inclusive society. It is especially in times of crisis that governments must demonstrate their adherence to these universal values. There is a clear responsibility by the Egyptian Government, including the army, to protect those threatened and to hold accountable those responsible for these attacks. The Egyptian Government must demonstrate its willingness to ensure journalists' ability to report on these events to the people of Egypt and to the world.

"Vice President Suleiman spoke today about the need for free and fair presidential elections. That is essential. And I urge the government and a broad and credible representation of Egypt's opposition, civil society, and political factions to begin immediately serious negotiations on a peaceful and orderly transition. The Egyptian people expect a meaningful process that yields concrete changes."

Comments

Comments

ASHIM C.
|
India
February 4, 2011

Ashim C. in India writes:

Tahrir Square being beamed in TV channels is amazing. Literally close to a million people, it has been proclaimed by protestors, have thronged to this down town area of Cairo. Exact number has not been confirmed by anyone yet but it is mammoth gathering by any standard. The protestors are chanting for ouster of President Hosni Mubarak., moving about freely, and munching titbits, squatting on ground in gossiping formations. Some of them are making statements to press. There is no fear in their body language. Far from that there is joy and gaiety on their face. It is an atmosphere of great bonhomie in air signifying a trillion dollar fact – end of President Hosni Mubarak is assured and imminent as far as Egyptians are concerned, his political maneuverings are not working.

The images are vastly different from the earlier images when the protestations in Cairo began. Men wielding sticks and rods breaking shop window panes and looting have given way to complete absence of any form of violence. The demonstrators are seen taking time off from sloganeering for prayers with all the discipline and devotion that goes with it. Certainly demonstrations are now spontaneously disciplined. This is in sharp contrast to pictures of mass movements people carry in their minds, which have elaborate party organizations and much premeditated coordination efforts in some of the most developed democracies.

It is paradoxical that demonstrations are so close to realizing their first major objective of ousting President Hosni Mubarak; Yet there is no leader as of now behind this mass rebellion nor is any person or group coming forward to claim leadership. This makes Egyptian politics really a game of endless possibilities or shall one say impossibilities.

How events pan out in future for Egyptians, but the present situation is one of near statelessness created by near absence of civilian authority. But for Egyptian defense forces, civilian administration including police seem to have vanished in thin air like the smoke from the now burnt up headquarter building of President Hosni Mubarak’s party. How basic services which people cannot do without is a question does arise but is being pushed to background. Assuming that human mobilization on streets of Cairo is as big as the projections by media, it is easy to infer that supply of essentials food items, hospital services, public transport services etc must have got badly disrupted to further jeopardize other services. Agitation is already long enough. Stocks of food, medicine and other household necessities must be getting exhausted. Has any parallel machinery emerged in the midst of overwhelming disruption of normal life ; If yes, who are managing that machinery and what is the possibility of people manning those machinery also being the engineers of this mass uprising.

It appears from the response of the international community that they are totally indifferent to the humanitarian tragedy that can accompany a prolonged disruption to normal life caused by the current mass uprising against President. What is for instance International Red Cross doing?

Every Government of the world except USA has gone into wait and watch mode. Their concern is smooth transition, which means bloodless transition of power, emergence of any fundamentalist group in Cairo to fill up the power vacuum, and what effect that would have on strength of fundamentalists to hijack what as of now appears to be a very pro-democracy uprising. Now these are definitely genuine concern. Egypt traditionally has been a a country Arab world has looked up to. What, therefore, is happening in Egypt is going to send not ripples but high waves of change in the entire Arab world.

Immediate change would be seen in price of oil and inflationary pressures that it would build all over the world with disastrous effects upon low per capita income groups in all developing countries. The other long term effects would be strengthening of the radicalism and extremism. It is believed that Muslim Brotherhood though a banned organization occupies 20% of opposition space in Egyptian parliament through independent politicians. As it is Muslim Brotherhood are a big – possibly the biggest – group. In the midst of present turmoil, it is possible that not only forces of radicalism are entrenching itself in Egypt and other middle-east countries but other big powers of Europe and Asia may be fuelling anti-US sentiments in Arab world. Significantly, these other powers have an advantage; With world media constantly focusing also on what US administration doing vis a vis the Egypt situation, US is being seen as a country which is meddling in Egyptian affair. Natural disadvantages of a free society in communication management are many, which should be acknowledged and addressed. It is not surprising journalists from western free press have been physically attacked.

well53
February 4, 2011

W.W. writes:

Hello Mrs. Secretary You look so pretty even during this period of tribulation...

Berlusconi must go on egyptian TV and broadcasting system in order to propose control and fair not violent colonization for the area.

Rome offer to build what egyptian and north african and mid eastern people are seeking within in European border in term of services exchanging taxes to Rome.

CC. to Frattini,King of England,Tsar of Russia,President Of France.

We all r trying to avoid a teocracy that will expand in Europe if not stopped right now

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