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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs