News / Middle East

Egyptian Police Fire Water Cannon on Protesters

Riot police fire a water cannon to disperse people protesting against a new law restricting demonstrations, in downtown Cairo, Nov. 26, 2013.
Riot police fire a water cannon to disperse people protesting against a new law restricting demonstrations, in downtown Cairo, Nov. 26, 2013.
Reuters
Egyptian police fired teargas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters in Cairo on Tuesday after they defied a new law that restricts demonstrations.

Protesters gathered to commemorate the death of a liberal activist killed in clashes with police two years ago, challenging the new legislation passed on Sunday that bans protests without police approval.

Hundreds assembled at the Press Syndicate and parliament, both in central Cairo. “Down, down with military rule,” they chanted. Around 20 people were detained, the state news agency reported.

Human rights groups have condemned the law as a major blow to freedom in Egypt, the most populous Arab state and a U.S. ally which has experienced near relentless upheaval since autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a revolt in 2011.

Under the law, protests at places of worship are banned and the Interior Ministry has the right to forbid any public meeting of more than 10 people.

“[The] new protest law gives security forces free rein,” Amnesty International said.

The United States, which has partially frozen aid to Egypt, on Monday expressed concern over the new law and said it agreed  with groups that argued it does not meet international standards and hampers the country's move toward democracy.

Cairo responded by saying it was unacceptable for any country to interfere in its internal affairs.

  • Riot police detain a man who was taking part in a protest against a new law in Egypt that restricts demonstrations, in downtown Cairo, Nov. 26, 2013.
  • Riot police fire a water cannon to disperse people protesting a new law restricting demonstrations, in downtown Cairo, Nov. 26, 2013.
  • Police fire a water cannon to disperse a protest by dozens of activists commemorating the death of a protester a year earlier, Cairo, Nov. 26, 2013.
  • Anti-government protesters shout slogans against a new law in Egypt that restricts demonstrations, in downtown Cairo, Nov. 26, 2013.
  • Cairo University students shout slogans against the military and Interior Ministry in front of riot police at the main gate of the university, Cairo, Nov. 24, 2013.

A security official said Tuesday's crowd had not obtained permission to protest and had ignored warnings to disperse.

The army-backed government has said it is not against peaceful protests but wants to restore order in the streets. It has also complained that protests often disrupt traffic.

“We are implementing the new protest law that requires protesters to seek permission from the Interior Ministry three days before the protest,” a police official said.

Egypt has stumbled in its path to democracy since the fall of Mubarak, with the army ousting the country's first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, on July 3, after mass protests demanding early elections.

The law will further squeeze members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who have said they will continue protesting against what they say is a military coup.

The military has presented a roadmap it says will lead to parliamentary and presidential elections in Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel and contains the strategic Suez Canal.

A 50-member committee is expected to next week finish re-writing the constitution, which will be put to a referendum, likely to be next month. At the same time, security forces have mounted one of the fiercest crackdowns on Islamists in decades.

Hundreds have been killed by police and army troops and the Brotherhood's leadership has been arrested.

Morsi's supporters held protests in different cities in Egypt on Tuesday. In Cairo, female students at Al-Azhar University for Islamic learning, which follows the government line, stormed into a dean's office and destroyed her desk.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More