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Egypt's PM says govt rounds off disputed protest law

PM El-Beblawi says the draft bill regulating protests has been subject to review by legal and human rights bodies

Ahram Online , Tuesday 5 Nov 2013
Egypt
Egypt's Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi gestures during a news conference in Abu Dhabi October 27, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)
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Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi said on Monday a controversial law regulating protests was referred to Egypt's State Council - one of the nation's top judicial authorities, to ensure its abidance by international standards.

The draft law has sparked a chorus of condemnation from rights groups and political forces, who have said it could severely restrict the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and allow security forces to tighten their grip on dissent.

El-Beblawy told reporters on Tuesday that the government was putting the final touches to the law, which he said would be passed shortly.

The proposed bill requires protest organisers to notify police in advance of any public assembly of more than ten people for political reasons in a public place. It also gives the Interior Minister the authority to cancel, postpone or change the route of protests, and allows authorities to designate "protest-free" areas around state buildings.

According to the draft law, violators might face fines of up to LE300,000 (US$ 43,000).

The senior minister asserted that most recommendations proposed by Egypt's National Council for Human Rights regarding the bill have been carried out.

“This draft law could effectively allow the police to ban all planned protests and use force to disperse ongoing demonstrations,” said Sarah Leah Whiston, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch last week.

“The final law will be an important indicator of the extent to which the interim government is going to allow for political space in Egypt”, she added.

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Farid
06-11-2013 09:06am
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Proper way
Proposed bill is actually cording to major international regulations and standards. In most countries in order to organize protest, authorities MUST be notified in advance with date, time route and purpose of protest. Protesters receive police escort during protest route, same police also is responsible to protect public and private properties during protest.
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Haya
05-11-2013 08:30pm
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It is a hallmark of fascism to deny people the right to protest oppression
It is fascism, pure and simple. In the final analysis, the government has the right to ban dissent by banning demonstrations by political opponents.
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Farid
06-11-2013 09:09am
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Scaring tactics
I really like how MB's scaring tactics involve secularism, Israel, and recently fascism. I wonder what is coming next, Big BAD Santa ? ;)
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