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UN chief, Merkel press Egypt to guarantee freedoms

UN chief, Merkel press Egypt to guarantee freedoms

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Egypt on Friday to safeguard freedom of speech and association, even as Egypt's military deployed to the streets and Internet connections were shut down to quell protests.
Demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30 years in power, inspired by the popular uprising that ousted the leader of Tunisia earlier this month, are posing the biggest challenge to the Egyptian government in decades.
Speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had been closely following the protests, first in Tunisia and now in Egypt and Yemen.
"I believe that one of the ground principles of democracy should be to protect the freedom of speech of the people," Ban said when asked about the disruption of Internet and cell-phone data service in parts of the country.
Ban said Middle East leaders should view the protests as a chance to address the "legitimate concerns" of their people and urged authorities to refrain from violence against demonstrators.
"All concerned people or leaders should ensure that the situation in that region, and particularly now in Egypt, does not and should not lead to further violence," Ban said.
Hours later, Merkel took time out between discussions about the global economy at Davos to put her name under calls for Egypt to allow peaceful protests.
Merkel said the stability of Egypt was "extremely important but not at the price of freedom of expression."


Updated : 2021-04-11 18:48 GMT+08:00