When some people start chanting anti-army and anti-police slogans on the streets, when they blatantly defy the protest law and arrange for demonstrations without prior permission, and when they assault policemen in the line of duty, such actions push the country closer to the brink. This nation has had enough of chaos and violence, and now needs to focus on production, employment and education.
England, the prototype democracy for the modern world, has only a limited tolerance for protests. On 15 August 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about the riots that erupted in the country, saying: “these riots were not about poverty. This very assumption is an insult to the millions of people who, whatever the hardship, would never dream of inflicting such suffering on others.”
Cameron went on to chastise the rioters, lamenting their inability to tell right from wrong and lambasting their “skewed morality, their selfishness, and their lack of self-restraint”. France, birthplace of the world’s best known revolution, a country that prides itself on respect for human rights, also draws a clear line when it comes to acts disruptive of public order.
A French law defending public order and interior security was passed on 23 October 1935, requiring organizers of protests to inform the police about the venue, duration, and objectives of their action three days before the actual event.
Citizens have a right to express their opinion, but it is also the right of the authorities to prevent any infringement on public order. In the United States, police never hesitate to confront protestors, even with television cameras rolling, if there is a threat to public order.
I am convinced, therefore, that the Egyptian government must stick to its word and enforce the Protest Law to the letter, bringing to justice anyone who violates it, for this country cannot afford to have people taking to the streets willy-nilly, challenging the authority of the state, undermining the nation’s stability, and negating the freedom of other citizens.
If we take a look at the history of Egypt since Muhammad Ali’s time, we’ll find that the army and police have always taken the side of the people. Since the time of Ibrahim Pasha, this army has been the bulwark for this nation.
As we strive to rebuild this country to its former glory, we must take inspiration from our past.
translated from Al Yom 7