Democracy needs time to grow, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi said in a televised address on Sunday, ahead of the anniversary of the country's 2011 uprising.
"Democratic experiences do not mature overnight. Rather, it is an accumulative and continuing process," said the former army chief of the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time president Hosny Mubarak.
The protests that began in Egypt on January 25, 2011, forced Mubarak to step down less than a month later, on February 11.
Al-Sissi, who is accused of suppressing dissent, said that his administration was working to achieve the "ideal balance between rights and freedoms."
"[There should be] a frame of responsible freedom that prevents it from turning into destructive chaos, which undermines the fundamentals of the state and the people's resources," he said.
Al-Sissi was elected president in 2014, pledging to re-establish security and revitalize an economy battered by the unrest that followed the revolution against Mubarak.
In 2013, al-Sissi, the then defence minister, led the army's ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi following massive street protests against his divisive rule.
Hundreds of Morsi's backers have since been rounded up and put on mass trials on charges of inciting and involvement in violence.
Dozens of secular pro-democracy campaigners have also been jailed for illegal protests.
In recent weeks, police arrested more followers of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group and secular activists allegedly for inciting violence against state institutions and planning illegal protests on the anniversary of the uprising.
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