No return to Egyptian police state - Mansour
Egyptian interim President Adly Mansour said Wednesday Egypt would not return to a police state. (AFP/File)
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In his first television interview since his installment as Egypt's interim president, Adly Mansour rejected claims that the Mubarak regime is making a comeback after the ouster of Mohamed Morsi in July.
"No force can turn back the clock, neither to the former regime or the one before it. What happened after 25 January  was an attempt at creating a clone of the former regime but with a religious tone."
Mansour, in a recorded interview aired Tuesday evening on state television, dismissed concerns that a police state is reestablishing itself in the country following the security forces’ violent dispersal on 14 August of two large pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo. The dispersals, which left hundreds dead, were followed by mass arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members.
"I know the police faced a lot of criticism in dispersing the [pro-Morsi] sit-ins, which were not peaceful, but they tried to pursue all peaceful stages [to clear the camps] and there was no response," he said. “Still, they applied restraint and committed to the international standards and legal means of clearing the sit-ins."
Mansour added that the resignation of former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei in protest over the dispersal of the sit-ins came as a surprise to him. "I tried to get him to reconsider his decision, but he insisted," Mansour said.
"I wrote to him in my acceptance letter of his resignation that I wished he hadn’t left his position at such a critical time for the country."
Mansour went on to assert that the announcement of a one-month state of emergency and a strict curfew following the dispersal of the sit-ins was a necessity, although "as a man of the law" he did not relish doing so.
"There was no other alternative to confront the organised danger the nation was facing," Mansour said.
On 14 August, the interim government announced a one-month state of emergency and a curfew from 7pm to 6am, which was gradually eased to start at 11 pm.
"The decision to extend the emergency state and the curfew is linked to the improvement in the security situation which will favoirably reflect on citizens' lives as well as the economy," Mansour said. "How could investors or tourists come to Egypt while it is still facing a terrorism threat? This matter has to be dealt with first.”
Mansour also said that the amount of foreign direct investment in the country has plummeted to 2 billion dollars, after having reached 13 billion dollars in 2007.
"The cabinet's priorities are to commit to the transitional roadmap, to restore security and to improve the economic situation."
Mansour maintained that he gave interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi "full powers" in choosing his ministers, but only asked that the cabinet includes a ministry for transitional justice.