Egypt's activists press on with anti-protest law campaign

Ahram Online , Wednesday 23 Apr 2014

Human chains on Wednesday and female sit-in currently underway mark lead-up to campaign against controversial law banning unauthorised protests

Ittehadiya presidential palace in Cairo's Heliopolis district (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egyptian activists are to take to the streets on Wednesday afternoon to reiterate calls for the rescindment of a controversial protest law passed last November and slammed by rights groups for curtailing freedoms.

The law, which proscribes all but police-sanctioned demonstrations, had drawn public ire and sparked fears of a reversion to tactics used under long-ruling former president Hosni Mubarak to stifle political dissent.

Activists will organise human chains at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo as part of the build-up to mass protests called later in April for the same end. The protests, due on 26 April, are planned to culminate with an open-ended sit-in until the law is repealed.

Wednesday's protest coincides with an ongoing female sit-in that began on Tuesday at the presidential palace in the capital's Heliopolis district to clamour for the same cause.

Egyptians authorities have arrested a number of secular activists in recent months for breaches of the law denounced by Amnesty International as "repressive."

Three leading symbols of Egypt's 2011 uprising -- Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel -- were sentenced to three years in jail for protesting without permission.

Another prominent activist, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, is also standing trial for violating the protest law.

The government is meanwhile sustaining its crackdown against Islamist supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi which has so far left hundreds killed and scores of others behind bars.

Among the groups partaking in the anti-protest law campaign are: April 6 Youth Movement -- whose leaders Adel and Douma are detained -- the Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the Revolutionary Socialists group.

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