CAIRO (AFP) – Dozens of demonstrators rallied in front of Egypt’s parliament on Tuesday to vent their anger over an MP’s call for security forces to open fire on pro-reform demonstrators.
“We are here to show them we’re not scared,” said Karim Ennara, one of the mostly young protesters.
A ruling National Democratic Party deputy, according to independent daily Al-Masri al-Yom, called during a parliamentary debate on Sunday for security forces to use live rounds to break up illegal protests.
“I don’t know why the interior minister is so lenient with people who break the law,” Nashat al-Qassas was quoted as saying. “No need to use water cannons to disperse demonstrators; they must open fire at them with live bullets.”
Tuesday’s protest was organised by members of the April 6 group, a movement of young Egyptians campaigning for constitutional reform and a lifting of Egypt’s state of emergency.
Deputies with the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s main opposition group, and Kefaya opposition activists also took part.
Qassas’s call was “a crime, an incitement to murder,” said a Brotherhood MP, Mohammed al-Beltagui. Leading opposition figure Ayman Nour called for a lifting of the MP’s parliamentary immunity to face trial.
Amnesty International has condemned the deputy’s “outrageous comments” as tantamount to “a clear incitement to excessive force and potentially unlawful killing of protesters.”
“Such a statement must be retracted immediately to avoid giving carte blanche to security forces already known for their record of abuse,” it said.
The rights group also warned against “encouraging further abuse against protesters who are peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.”
Egypt’s parliament “should ask for accountability, not condone brutality.”
On April 6, demonstrators calling for a lifting of the emergency laws in force since the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat were beaten up by police. Dozens of them were detained for several hours.