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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs