A group of unidentified individuals attacked dozens of guests at the Civil Democratic Movement (CDM)’s iftar at the Swiss Club restaurant in the Kit Kat district of Giza on Tuesday, according to Dostour Party head Khaled Daoud.
The CDM was founded in December 2017 and is a coalition of eight political parties and approximately 150 public figures, including journalists, activists and politicians.
According to Daoud, those attending the CDM’s Tuesday iftar were surprised by the presence of approximately 10 uninvited individuals who were seated at a table in the area that the CDM had reserved for its private event. A woman and a man seated at this table began to argue around the time of iftar, Daoud told Mada Masr, before they began to destroy tables and throw plates and bottles of water at guests, shouting, “You traitors, you spies.”
The group that carried out the attack escaped before they could be apprehended, according to Daoud, who explained that the Swiss Club’s management informed him that they had entered the premises as regular customers.
Daoud points to the power outages at the club, which he claims occurred immediately after altercations began, as well as the assault on guests and statements like “you traitors, you spies” as evidence that the attack was premeditated. The party head also stressed that the event was intended to be purely social and no political discussions were planned to take place. “It was a social gathering, not a political meeting… We are astonished by the state that this country has reached.”
Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Mohamed Zaree, who was present at the iftar, said that the attack led to minor injuries in a Tuesday evening post published on his Facebook page, adding that the club and the attendants had contacted the police.
The meeting was attended by a large number of the CDM’s members, as well as several prominent civil society figures, such as former Journalists Syndicate head Khaled al-Balshy, Egyptian Social Democratic Party head Farid Zahran, CDM spokesperson Hussein Abdel Hady, National Council for Human Rights member George Ishaq, Bread and Freedom Party leaders Elham Eidaros and Akram Ismail, Popular Socialist Alliance Party head Medhat al-Zahed, journalists and writers Abdallah al-Sennawi and Gamal Fahmy, as well as former ambassador Massoum Marzouk.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party released a statement in response to Tuesday evening’s events, which it described as a “criminal attack.” The party condemned the “suspicious and brutal assault on CDM leaders” and called for those responsible to be referred to prosecution.
“Our party expresses deep sorrow over what has happened to our country and asks with the utmost concern about what those who perpetrated — or rather incited and plotted — this crime think about the future of our nation?” the statement continued.
In January, the CDM called for a boycott of the 2018 presidential elections, which saw President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi securing a second term during a highly contested electoral process, which the movement described as “a total deprivation of the Egyptian people’s right to choose a president.”