Army had ‘epiphany’ not to use force against protestors, says SCAF member

A member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said that God had inspired them not to use force against protesters, which would have led to a catastrophe that would affect the image of Egypt in the world.

Mokhtar al-Molla said the current conditions in Egypt necessitate dialogue. “Who would protect Egypt if the armed forces left power?” he wondered.

He said that the armed forces has exercised maximum restraint to avoid spilling more blood in Tahrir Square and tarnishing Egypt’s image abroad.

At a meeting with businessmen and media professionals, Molla said the goal behind this "rioting" is to create a rift between the people and the army.

He added that at the beginning of the revolution, the SCAF announced it had taken the side of the people.

He said that those who carry out those "riots" are known to the military and added that action will be taken against them. If the goal is to postpone the elections, the SCAF insists on conducting the elections at the scheduled date, he said.

Protesters, who accuse the military of clinging to power, want a rapid handover of power to a civilian government, and some say they do not trust the army to oversee a fair election next week.

Molla also wondered why the people want to bring down the Interior Ministry, and said the minister asked the SCAF to protect the ministry during the recent violence in Mohamed Mahmoud Street. “How is it that police forces are being attacked in all governorates at the same time?”

Molla emphasized the role of the media in building Egypt and providing a balanced coverage of events.

Major General Ismail Etman said that the SCAF has not and will not censor the media.

On Tuesday, the international human rights watchdog Amnesty International said that the SCAF has systematically tried to silence criticism of its rule.

“Those who have challenged or criticized the military council — like demonstrators, journalists, bloggers, striking workers — have been ruthlessly suppressed in an attempt to silence their voices,” said Amnesty.

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