Egypt's Sisi says Arab Spring 'opened the gates of hell'

Egypt's Sisi says Arab Spring 'opened the gates of hell'
Egypt's President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has claimed that a coup led by him saved Egypt from becoming ravaged by war following the Arab Spring.
2 min read
06 November, 2018
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has led a brutal crackdown on opposition in Egypt [AFP]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said the 2011 Arab Spring uprising was an ill-advised attempt at change which caused an existential threat to the nation.

Addressing an international youth conference late on Sunday, Sisi said those behind the revolt had good intentions but had "opened the gates of hell".

The uprising, which saw millions of Egyptians take to the streets to oust autocrat Hosni Mubarak after 29 years in power, led to Egypt's first free and fair elections, which were won by the Muslim Brotherhood.

On the back of protests against the fledgling Islamist administration, in 2013 Sisi led a military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi. Since then, the government has waged an unprecedented crackdown on dissent, jailing several activists behind the 2011 uprising.

The president said his actions saved Egypt from the fate of war-torn Arab states like Syria and Libya.

Sisi won his first term as president in 2014 with an overwhelming majority of the vote. In winning his second term in March this year, the former general saw off a relatively unknown and opponent who was in fact a fervent supporter of his.

All other political contenders were either arrested, sidelined or withdrew.

Human rights defenders have regularly accused Sisi of violating public freedoms and suppressing opponents.