CAIRO — Egypt's president says the 2011 Arab Spring revolt was an ill-advised attempt at change whose chaotic aftermath posed an existential threat to the nation.
Addressing an international youth conference late Sunday, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said those behind the revolt had good intentions but had "opened the gates of hell."
The uprising led by young, pro-democracy activists ended autocrat Hosni Mubarak's 29-year rule and led to Egypt's first free and fair elections, which were won by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Islamists' rule proved divisive, and in 2013 el-Sissi led the military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi amid mass protests. Since then, the government has waged an unprecedented crackdown on dissent, jailing several activists behind the 2011 uprising.
El-Sissi says his actions have spared Egypt the fate of war-torn Syria, Yemen and Libya.