Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2014-07-17-Speech-4-046-000"
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"Madam President, before the Arab Spring my wife and I visited Egypt, one of the cradles of civilisation. We had a wonderful time, the people seemed happy and content, and we were able to travel in safety. Sadly the situation has changed for the worse. What is happening is denying ordinary Egyptians the opportunity to earn a decent living. When the Arab Spring reached Egypt, it reached the centre of the Arab world. The calls for freedom of expression, in peaceful demonstrations in Tahrir Square, augured well for democracy. A military dictatorship has remorselessly crushed those hopes. In the process, it killed almost 72 people in a single day and it has placed thousands in detention. The role of the army is to defend the nation, not to kill their fellow citizens. Just recently, 46 sentences of life imprisonment and 10 death sentences were handed down, and several more court cases are pending. One hundred and one supporters of a previous, democratically elected government were each sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. It is of the utmost importance to respect the will of the people. I know that this Parliament does not always support democracy. I cite, for example, the Danish referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, which was ignored, and the French and Dutch rejections of the EU constitution, which were swept aside as the EU flagship project was pushed through. With all this in mind, I will be writing to the British Foreign Minister to urge him to express in the strongest terms our disgust at the treatment of innocent Egyptians engaged in peaceful demonstrations. I hope that this will be the new Minister’s first achievement. Democratic principles, especially freedom of expression and the right to assemble in a peaceful manner, are basic human rights."@en1
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