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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday rally of Egyptian intellectuals to demand ensuring of civil rights and freedoms in Egypt’s Constitution

Protests of Egyptian intellectuals

The campaign “Constitution for All Egyptian” which consists of Egyptian intellectuals and prominent figures and includes some political parties and professional organizations planned a rally to demand the civil Constitution today, on 2 September.

The campaign “Constitution for All Egyptians” was established in March 2012 and demands representative Constitutions which will represent all the factions of Egyptian society and ensure civil rights, freedoms and equality for the citizens. This group includes several political parties (such as Al-Tagammu Party, Free Egyptians and Democratic Front), some organizations and professional syndicates, farmers’ and workers’ unions and also some individuals, prominent Egyptian figures, thinkers, artists etc.

The members of this campaign, writers, artists, intellectuals gathered today in front of Shura Council building (which is the Upper House of Egypt’s parliament) and protested against what they call the attempt to restrict civil freedoms and rights in the future Constitution. Egypt’s new Constitution has to guarantee the country’s citizens public freedoms and rights, not to restrict them. Another demand voiced by them is that the future Constitution has to represent all Egyptians, not only some groups of them. They insist the civil nature of the country must be ensured by the Constitution.

It’s worth reminding that there are a lot of concerns among Egyptian liberal and secular forces regarding the future of Egypt’s national charter, as the Constituent Assembly is strongly dominated by Islamist forces. There are fears that the strict Islamic law could be imposed in Egypt, and that was not what the revolution as about. The work of Egypt’s Constituent Assembly, the body tasked with the drafting of Egypt’s new Constitution, was marked with the heated discussions among its members regarding some articles, especially the famous Article 2, which declares that principles of Sharia are the main source of legislation in Egypt.

Thus protesters demanded that the Constitution will guarantee the rights and freedoms. They also demanded the Constitution’s articles to be written clearly in order to avoid their possible misinterpretations and the problems which Egyptians faced during the transitional period, when the country was governed by SCAF with their Constitutional Declaration. This document issued by SCAF as often criticized by politicians and analysts for being unbalanced and not clear. This mistake doesn’t have to repeat, stress the demonstrators.

Coordination and cooperation between all the entities of Egyptian society are needed now for achieving the revolutionary goals which are basic public rights and freedoms, human rights, freedom of expression etc. One of the main revolutionary goals, freedom, is currently under threat.

Regarding the recent events, especially with the new judiciary actions and restrictions put on Egyptian media (for example, the case of Islam Afify, Al-Dostour editor-in-chief, and of Tawfiq Okasha, TV-host and owner of Faraeen private satellite channel, both standing the trial) the campaign members claim they will take strong and decisive actions against those threats to Egyptian citizens’ and their rights and freedoms.

Today’s action was supported by Writers’ Union, Egyptian Creativity Front, Egypt’s Society of Writers, Journalists’ Syndicate, film and acting associations and by other groups and organizations representing Egyptian intellectuals. The protest was also attended by prominent Egyptian figures and intellectuals; among them are Saeed Kafrawy, Youssef El-Qaeed, Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid, Fatima Kandil, Sabry Hafez, Ghada Nabil, Gamal Al-Gitani, Bahaa Taher, Yahya Qalash and others.