Egypt’s Fake Democracy

Al-Jazeera, Qatar, February 2

On August 14, 2013, nearly 700 civilians were brutally killed by Egyptian security forces in Cairo’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square, when supporters of ousted President Mohammad Morsi, who gathered for a peaceful demonstration, were shot to death on the orders of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Thereafter, Egyptian activists adopted a four-finger salute as a protest sign. Flyers, posters and stickers depicting the symbol have spread throughout Egypt as a gesture of solidarity to those who lost their lives during the brutal crackdown. Now, weeks before to so-called “elections” in Egypt, al-Sisi’s government has taken further steps to crush free speech in the country by banning the four-fingered symbol. According to a law drafted last week in parliament, any Egyptian citizen carrying, distributing or posting printed materials displaying the sign could be fined or even jailed. Absurdly, the very emblem that came to represent opposition to government tyranny has now been outlawed by an illegitimate Egyptian regime. This comes just days after al-Sisi’s main political rivals were arrested or intimidated into dropping out of the upcoming race, thereby leaving the 63-year-old president—who has served in office for over three years—to compete against himself. What a sad testament to the current state of human rights in Egypt, which just seven years ago had millions of protesters in the streets calling for liberty and dignity. The only difference between Mubarak and al-Sisi is their names. Other than that, both men have ensured that their country remains unsafe, undemocratic and, most unfortunately, unfree. – Fare abu Hilal

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