Islamist presidential hopeful slams govt reaction to protests

On Sunday Islamist Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, a presidential hopeful, slammed the government’s reaction to protests in a number of governorates on Friday.

The former Muslim Brotherhood leader said he watched the Saturday speech by interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf "with a mixture of rage and astonishment."

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians staged massive protests on Friday, calling for the faster prosecution of officials from Hosni Mubarak's regime and officers accused of murdering protesters during the 25 January revolution.

In a statement aired on Saturday, the prime minister ordered the suspension of all police officers charged with killing protesters. He also said he decided with the Cairo Appeal Court head to fully dedicate particular judicial circles to trying officials and officers implicated in the killing of protesters, which, he said, should ensure speedier trials.

"Sharaf's address aimed to tranquilize martyrs' families. It wrongly assumed that the problem lies in the slow pace of disbursing compensation [to the families] and the fear that the approach of judicial holidays will affect the trials," Abouel Fotouh said.

"This is a public opinion issue that concerns all Egyptians. People want open trials, and martrys' families are not seeking financial compensation for the murder of their relatives, but rather fair retribution."

He added that protesters were not expecting the prime minister to talk about his government's concern for low-income citizens, but rather to adopt tangible measures to restructure wages in a way that would secure a good standard of living and narrow the gap between minimum and maximum wages.

Abouel Fotouh asked “Why is the government, which acquired its legitimacy from the revolution, failing to achieve a minimum of the demands for which martyrs’ blood was shed during the revolution?”

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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