SCAF supporters and opponents face-off at Qatar event

Organizers of a ceremony in Qatar on Wednesday exchanged verbal crossfire with Egyptian citizens in attendance. The ceremony was to mark the anniversary of the 25 January revolution.

A Facebook event called for Egyptians in Qatar to observe a moment of silence to honor the revolution’s martyrs, protest the military government and affirm the continuation of the revolution.

The standoff began when some Egyptians entered the ceremony’s events hall, carrying photos of martyrs and signs that criticized the military council. The ceremony’s organizers tried to convince them to leave.

The organizers objected to the criticism of the military council, while protesters insisted on their right to express themselves as part of the Egyptian community in Qatar.

After everyone had taken their seats, debates erupted between some of the event’s attendants, who split into two sides, one chanting slogans supporting and the other condemning the military council.

Slogans like “Down with the military rule” were countered with shouts of “The people and the army are one hand.” The situation continued for a few minutes before other attendants interfered to end the standoff.

Hussein Khibeiz and Ahmed Naguib, creators of the Facebook page that called for the protest, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the protesters went to the event bearing sings and chanting slogans to disrupt the ceremony.

“We think that the revolution is unfinished, so we can’t really celebrate. We demand that the military council hand over power to civilians,” Naguib said.

“We did not expect that many people to attend the protest, and the turnout proves that we are on the right path toward completing the revolution, in spite of the opposition,” Khibeiz said.

Magdi Ismail, secretary of the Egyptian Community Fund in Qatar and one of the ceremony’s supervisors, said the problems began because protestors had not coordinated their actions with the event’s organizers.

“We allowed them to conduct a moment of silence and take part in the celebrations as part of the audience, though, because the event was open to all Egyptians,” he added.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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