Ban Ki-moon warns of ‘violent’ forms of expression following attack

“While freedom of expression is ensured, such expression should not be violent or threatening. This is mutually agreed as a principle of basic human rights,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a press conference Monday afternoon, following an attack on him that took place at the organization’s Cairo headquarters in Tahrir.

Ban's car was attacked as it left the premises and headed to Tahrir Square after his meeting with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa. The attack was initiated by a group of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi supporters

Witnesses said about 20 to 30 people obstructed the route chanting, "Down, down with the US and Italy."

Despite the incident, he warmly praised his reception in Egypt. “While in Egypt, I have been warmly welcomed by many people,” he said. “That was simply an unexpected welcome. This is a very democratic society, where people have freedom of expression, whether positive or negative, against or for the government or the United Nations… in the future, I will still always be prepared to listen to all the voices of people. Whether good or bad.”

In relation to his meeting with Amr Moussa concerning the turbulent events sweeping the Arab world, he confirmed that a strong partnership between the UN and the Arab League is crucial in enabling democracy to take hold across the region.

With regard to recent air strikes in Libya, he defended the recent Security Council decision authorizing force against Libya. “The violence which Libyan authorities have taken on their own civilians was clearly a violation of international humanitarian laws,” he said. “Time was of the essence. There was understanding of the urgency of the situation. That is why the Security Council has acted swiftly in a reactive way.”

When asked about the implications of the “yes” turnout with regards to the referendum for constitutional amendment, he stated, “My meeting with youth leaders who made this change happen was very much impressive. They have their visions and have shown me a strong ambition as the leaders of tomorrow.”

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