The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm said the protests that prompted Saudi Arabia to temporarily close its Cairo embassy and consulates reflected Egyptians standing up for their rights.
The Freedom and Justice Party, which holds nearly half the seats in parliament’s lower house, said the demonstrators were “merely expressing the Egyptian people’s aspiration to preserve the dignity of their fellow citizens who visit, live or work in Arab countries,” according to a statement on the party website.
The protests that began on April 24 outside Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Cairo were in response to the detention of Ahmed el-Gizawy, a human rights activist and lawyer who was detained earlier this month in the kingdom after officials there said he tried to smuggle in anti-anxiety tablets. The detention fueled complaints by activists on social media about the treatment of Egyptians in Saudi Arabia. Egyptians have long complained that ousted President Hosni Mubarak remained silent about how Egyptians were treated in Gulf Arab states largely to not offend the oil-rich Arab states.
“The people are voicing their conviction that insulting the dignity of Egyptians abroad is no longer tolerated after the peaceful revolution which restored their will, their voice and their dignity,” the FJP said in the statement.
Egyptian officials have sought to smooth over the potential rift, with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi calling King Abdullah yesterday to reaffirm the strength of ties between the two nations, the state-run al-Ahram reported today.
Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said the methods used by some of the protesters were “individual actions that do not represent” the views of Egyptians as a whole, the state-run Middle East News Agency said late yesterday.
The FJP said that Egyptian-Saudi relations are “far greater than any problems” and that “dialogue and transparency in these relations can solve any problems.” The party called on Egypt’s military rulers to “take concrete steps to solve the el-Gizawy issue in a manner which ensures Egyptians’ dignity, and at the same time preserves” the strong ties between both nations.