Egyptian critic of army rule beaten after Tantawi’s words

Egyptian critic of army rule beaten after Tantawi’s words

Egyptian critic of army rule beaten after Tantawi’s words

Nawara Negm (C) talks on a mobile phone outside the Supreme Court in Cairo. Unidentified assailants attacked her as she left work in Cairo. AP photo

Assailants attacked a prominent Egyptian activist as she left work at Cairo’s Nileside state television headquarters late Jan. 18, in the latest incident of violence against the protest movement that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s regime to be captured on video.

The attack came after the military ruler Hussein Tantawi issued a statement, saying that Egypt is facing unprecedented “grave dangers” but its military will protect it, which appeared aimed at rallying public opinion against protests planned for next week’s anniversary of the country’s 2011 uprising.

“Egypt is facing grave dangers it has not seen before,” Tantawi said. Tantawi, who is in his late 70s, said that the armed forces were “pushed into the political fray only to protect Egypt from the enemies of the nation and people,” language that appears designed to counter charges by activists and politicians.

Abuse against activist

A clip posted on social networks showed a small crowd punching and kicking Nawara Negm, and hurling abuse at her. Her assailants could be heard saying she wanted to drive a wedge between the ruling military and the people. Others called her an “agent,” presumably of a foreign power.

Negm told a TV interviewer late Jan. 18 night that the beating left her with a swollen eye, but that she was otherwise unhurt. She said the beating took place while scores of policemen and army soldiers assigned to the protection of the TV building stood by and watched, the Associated Press reported. “I am not the type that runs away. I stood my ground,” she told the interviewer on the privately owned ONTV station. Negm is the daughter of Ahmed Fouad Negm, Egypt’s best known satirical poet and a longtime critic of Mubarak. She was a key figure in the 18-day uprising that forced Mubarak to step down last February.

Also a newspaper columnist and blogger, she has been sharply critical of the generals who took over from the ousted president. Negm was questioned by prosecutors this week over her alleged role in deadly clashes last month between troops and protesters in Cairo.