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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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