April 6 Youth Movement calls for boycott of elections

The April 6 Youth Movement called on Wednesday for a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections, privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper reported

In a statement read during a press conference at the April 6 Cairo headquarters on Wednesday afternoon, the group said it would be offering its support to neither of the candidates.

Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi will stand against former Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is tipped to win the elections and has largely led the country since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi last summer.

“The elections are a theatrical play for the coronation of Sisi, who has already been ruling the country de facto,” the statement read. April 6 refuses to participate in a play that will “pave the way for the arrival of a dictator,” the group declared.

Amro Ali, the group’s spokesperson, said that the decision was made in a democratic way, with each member casting a vote.

Ali said that the group perceives the country to be living through a transitional period, the aim of which is ultimately the military takeover of the presidency.

Close observation over the past few months, he said, has led them to conclude that the country is moving towards fascism.

The elections do not present another viable option, he said. Voters essentially have to chose between Sisi and Sisi.

The statement pointed out that their decision has nothing to do with their assessment of Sabbahi. They said, “he has his decision and he has ours.”

Sabbahi has come under criticism from some revolutionary figures, who argue that as the only other candidate, his running will legitimize the upcoming presidential elections.

Last week, the April 6 Youth Movement-Democratic Front — a splinter group from the April 6 Youth Movement — announced that it would take no official decision on the presidential elections and would let its members decide whether to vote for Sabbahi or boycott.

In late April, the activities of both wings of the group were banned because of their involvement in “acts that tarnish Egypt’s image as well as espionage.” 

Initially established in 2008 amid labor strikes, April 6 came to be widely recognized as a leading force associated with the 2011 uprising. In a statement, responding to the court verdict, the movement said, “The state wants to oppress us and ban us, hoping we will turn back and leave the political arena, but our reaction is to oppose their new pharaoh at the top of our lungs and with all our might.”

April 6 founder Ahmed Maher, along with Mohamed Adel, another leading member of the movement, were sentenced to three years in prison for charges relating to unlawful protests. Member Sayed Abdallah, known as Sayed Wezza, was killed when police forces attacked protesters on the last anniversary of the January 25 revolution.


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