Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El Sisi announced in a televised speech his intention to impose a nationwide state of emergency for three months following two deadly bomb attacks on Christian churchgoers on Palm Sunday that left at least 44 dead and over 100 injured, media sources reported.
The decision to impose the state of emergency was reached earlier in the day during a meeting of the National Defence Council, the highest national security body on the land, in response to two suicide bombers detonating themselves at a church in Tanta, in Egypt Delta, and another one in Alexandria’s main St Mark cathedral.
El Sisi added that the state of emergency shall come into effect once legal and constitutional measures are completed in reference to the necessity of securing parliamentary approval. Without further delay, the pro-government “Support Egypt” parliamentary bloc swung behind the president, making an official statement that the government and parliament ought to discuss proposes amendments to the Criminal Procedures Law as soon as possible. Some parliamentarians went further than the tightening of existing criminal procedures, going as far as calling for military trials of terrorist suspects.
On his part, El Sisi announced that a new body, the Supreme Council to Combat Terrorism and Extremism, will be established with wide-ranging authority according to yet-to-be enacted laws. In the interim period, the army has been dispatched to help the police secure strategic state assets.
Egyptians had learned to live for 30 years under state of emergency previous to the January 2011 popular uprising against former president Mohamed Hosni Mubarak. The imposition of a state of emergency, once again, will complete the cycle of withdrawal of civil rights that started with El Sisi’s ascendancy to the presidency, bringing the state of affairs back to the Mubarak era.
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