News / Middle East

Egyptians Defy, Pay Price for New Protest Law

Protesters shout anti-government slogans during a rally against a new law restricting public gatherings, in downtown Cairo Nov. 26, 2013.
Protesters shout anti-government slogans during a rally against a new law restricting public gatherings, in downtown Cairo Nov. 26, 2013.
Elizabeth Arrott
Egyptian authorities have ordered the arrest of two leading political activists in connection with a new law limiting protests.  The move comes a day after security forces used tear gas and water cannons to break up demonstrations.

Egypt's top prosecutor accuses activists Ahmed Maher and Alaa Abdel Fattah of inciting protests in response to the new law on demonstrations.

Egyptian human rights groups say 50 protesters have already been arrested following Tuesday's demonstrations.

The new law says protesters must give authorities three days notice of any public gatherings.  Failure to do so could result in fines of more than $40,000 and up to seven years in prison.

The law, which went into effect Sunday, was widely seen as an attempt to curb recurring protests by the Muslim Brotherhood angry over the ouster in July of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

But Tuesday's protests were unrelated, with one called to mark the anniversary of the killing of a young political activist, the other against the military trial of civilians.

Government officials have argued the new law will help restore stability to Egypt, which in addition to political protests is facing increased violence from jihadis, mainly based in the Sinai peninsula, and other extremists.  Authorities also said the law was needed to prevent disruptions to traffic.
 
Law’s legitimacy questioned

Mohamed Fawaz of the opposition April 6 Movement Democratic Front, who took part in Tuesday's protests, finds the official arguments false.

"We are standing against the real terrorist of the state who have been rul[ing] by the martial [emergency law] system, killing innocent people, arresting righteous lawyers, arresting righteous political activists in such a way that has no relationship with human rights or has no relationship with the real January 25 revolution or even the 30 June revolution," says Fawaz.

A spokeswoman for Human Rights Watch, Tamara al-Rifai, notes other countries regulate protests, but says her group has concerns over Egypt's requirement of a three-day notification period, which it considers too far in advance. She also says the limit on any gathering of 10 people or more is far too restrictive.

Al-Rifai also points out that popular protests have been central to Egypt's political life since the uprising against ex-president Hosni Mubarak nearly three years ago.

"We also request a clarification on how you give back the right to Egyptians to protest that they snatched on January 2011.  We are asking if this is a way of taking this right away from them.  So in that sense what the Egyptians have acquired can only be regulated, it should not be restricted the way this law does," says al-Rifai.

Protesters Tuesday were more blunt, accusing the current government, which came into power on the back of popular protests, of trying to ensure no further protests can unseat it.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ALI BABA from: NEW YORK
November 27, 2013 1:34 PM
the protesters will cause serious damage to Egypt. the 25 JAUNUARY REVOLUTION had caused serious damage to Egypt . the 25 revaluation has created Muslim brotherhood to rule the country .The nightmare of Egypt is started by Muslim brotherhood whom they want the country to go back to stone age. now Muslim brotherhood is pay to some activities to create chaos in the hope they can return back. the Egyptian has the right to detain activities whom broke the law .non of them is looking for democracy .they looking for money in their pocket from gulf country and Arab who live in Us are paying for Muslim brotherhood and they are not royal to country that give them the opportunity .they still royal to radical Islam and give them money to destabilize Egypt

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid