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Egypt: The European Union should show support for the democracy movement


31 Jan 2011


Global Europe

Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament condemned the violent crackdown on Egyptians venting their frustration at decades of repression and lack of political freedom:
"Egyptians have found their collective voice and are calling for an end to the dictatorship following the recent protests in Tunisia which ended the authoritarian rule of Ben Ali.  In both cases, beating or killing those demonstrating for their liberty and democracy will only strengthen their perseverance.

“The ripple effect from the Tunisian popular uprising is similar to the spontaneous and sudden end to the Iron curtain in 1989 that artificially suppressed people’s liberty in Central and Eastern Europe.

“I call upon President Mubarak to acknowledge the will of the people and refrain from using force against his own people. The moment has come to organise genuinely free and open elections and let the people decide their future leaders."

Edward McMillan-Scott (Lib Dem, UK) a Vice-President of Parliament previously led a European Parliament delegation to the Euromed Assembly in March 2005 and secured the release of Ayman Nour following a previous imprisonment.

“It is clear that a strong wind of change is now blowing across North Africa”, said Macmillan Scott. “The European Union must get off the fence and support the nascent shoots of freedom before they are snuffed out. In particular the European Parliament, which has consistently stood up for the rights of opposition leaders such as Ayman Nour of the El Ghad party, should stand shoulder to shoulder with him and others like Dr El Baradei at this critical juncture in Egypt’s history.”

Marietje Schaake (D66, Netherlands) called for Egypt’s regime to respect the fundamental rights of its citizens and not stifle the channels of communication in an attempt to curtail their bid for freedom:

“The violent repression of citizens by the Egyptian government has to end both on the streets and online. I condemn the unprecedented shutdown of internet and mobile services with the goal of silencing citizens, creating an environment in which human rights violations can take place undocumented and out of sight of Egyptian and international media.”

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