President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called on Egyptians to take care of the security, stability and the prosperity of their country, in a Saturday speech marking Egypt's upcoming National Police Day.
"We have paid a lot for the security and stability that we currently live in, so I ask all Egyptians for the sake of the martyrs and the blood to take care of their country," said the president, in an address to an audience that included the families of slain police personnel at Cairo's Police Academy.
"It is an extremely hard day on me," El-Sisi began. He asked the families of the dead police personnel to stand next to him while he gave his speech, in order for Egyptians to see them.
Among those included were the families of 40 police personnel who were killed in militant attacks in 2015.
National Police Day, established by former president Hosni Mubarak, is celebrated on 25 January. Protests against police violence on the day in 2011 led to that year's revolution and the ouster of Mubarak.
"I have asked for your support and authorisation to combat terrorism 24/7. We have lost a lot of souls and blood in order to establish the current security and stability that we live in,” said El-Sisi. “We will never forget them and we will never forget to avenge them," he added.
During his speech, El-Sisi praised the police's efforts.
"Security and stability have helped us to work in a secured environment so that we can prosper, invest and encourage tourism, decrease unemployment rates, and allow all productive sectors to flourish," he said.
The president said that the role of police as well as that of the military had multiplied during the recent past, in order to secure Egyptian borders.
He has also praised the work of policewomen in society, in particular in combating “an alien phenomenon” in our country, a veiled reference to sexual harassment.
Warning to Tunisians
Turning to regional affairs, El-Sisi spoke about the situation in Tunisia.
On Friday, Tunisia declared a nationwide curfew after four days of protests and rioting over jobs and economic conditions, the worst unrest since the revolution five years ago that toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, according to AFP.
At least 19 people were arrested in the capital in connection with the unrest, a security official said.
"I do not mean to interfere in the internal affairs of our neighbouring country Tunisia, but I call on all Tunisians to take care of their country," El-Sisi said.
He said that the economic situation all over the world is “deteriorating” and that no nation could endure any more unrest.
Benefits of civil service law
Speaking about the civil service law, which the country's newly convened parliament rejected on Wednesday in a 468-332 vote, the president expressed his displeasure.
He said he didn't want to interfere in parliamentary affairs but urged MPs to “further study the issue for the sake of future generations.”
The law, which was signed by Egypt's cabinet in November 2015, has met with widespread criticism by many state employees, labour unions and other labour rights activists, who say the legislation would destroy the long held rights such as job security, and could also push many thousands of the six million government workers out of work.
El-Sisi cited three main points concerning the law. Firstly, that the state has up to seven million workers, whereas there may be a need for only one million; however, they will keep all workers after the law is passed.
Secondly, he stressed that wages will not decrease by any means, and thirdly, that any raises in salaries will be given to those owed them.
The law is likely to be returned to the parliamentary committee on labour issues for further review and modifications before returning to the floor of the house again.