Adly Mansour, Egypt’s interim president, is reviewing a proposed protest law approved by the Cabinet that has drawn the ire of human rights groups and political factions.
State media reported Wednesday the measure would have tight restrictions:
— It requires an appeal to be handed to the Interior Ministry before any demonstration.
— It gives senior police officials the right to cancel, delay or move a protest.
— It allows for the creation of “protest-free” areas around public institutions.
Rights groups have reacted strongly to the proposed measure.
“Resorting to the security and police solutions will lead to more failure and worsen the political conflict in Egypt,” Gamal Eid, executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights, said in a statement.
The April 6th movement, an influential political force deeply involved in Egypt’s 2011 revolution, equated the draft law with Hosni Mubarak-era repressions, calling it “one of the worst repressive laws constraining freedoms in Third World countries and military dictatorships.” Mubarak was removed from power in 2011 during the early days of the Arab Spring movement that swept across North African and Middle East.
Tamarod, the grass-roots political faction responsible for organizing the petition campaign that led to the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsy in July by the Egyptian military, reacted to the draft law on Facebook:
“Any law that limits the right of peaceful demonstration which Egyptians won in the January 25th and June 30th revolutions is an unjust law. Dealing with non-peaceful protest must be done without a law that is used to restrict or narrow peaceful protests.”
The Nour Party, the second largest Islamist party in Egypt, also criticized the draft law and urged the interim president to engage in a debate before approval.
“The protest law is dangerous and sensitive and should be preceded by a community dialogue or at least dialogue with political forces. One of the most important gains of the revolution is that the Egyptian people recovered their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” the party said in a statement.