Government meets with youth to address concerns

The past week has seen a string of governmental meetings with representatives from youth groups and movements to address their concerns, following a low turnout from youth in the constitutional referendum that took place on January 14-15.

On Tuesday afternoon, interim President Adly Mansour chaired a meeting with representatives of Egyptian youth in a meeting that reportedly lasted four and a half hours, according to local news outlets.

According to a presidential statement, the meeting addressed the sentiment shared by some young people, namely that there are attempts to undermine the January 25 revolution, clarifying that January 25 was a genuine, popular revolution sparked by young people, which involved all segments of the Egyptian people, and that June 30 was an extension of it.

Mansour confirmed that there is no turning back to the old regime and that young people are the backbone of Egypt.

Change is a continuous, dynamic process that will not be achieved overnight, the interim president stated, something which must be done peacefully, not with arms, whether used against individuals or the state, privately owned Al-Balad reported on Wednesday.

Issues raised by some of the youth include a media campaign that they believed tarnishing the image of January 25 and the return of former regime figures to political life. Some also criticized the new protest law and security practices of the police, describing abuses as systematic.

Mansour denied the possibility that the police practiced violence systematically and requested a list of those said to have been subjected to random arrests.

One of the attendants of the meeting, Tamer Qadi, called into talk show “Sabah”, aired on privately owned channel ONTv, on Tuesday evening and described the meeting.

He said that Egypt is at a crossroads, maintaining that “there is one sign with ‘Egypt the nation’ written on it and one with ‘terrorism’ written on it.”

He called on all youth to choose the first path. “Even if you are opposed, come along on this path, and if there are infringements on the part of the Interior Ministry, we will fix this.”

Mostafa Fouad, a Cairo University student, who gathered signatures as part of the Tamarod campaign against the rule of former President Mohamed Morsi before June 30, is appalled at the direction the country has taken since then.

He told Mada Masr that these meetings were simply “theater for the media,” and that “these so-called representatives represent no one but themselves. The point is that no one represents the youth.”

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