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Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Hundreds of writers, intellectuals endorse call to rescind Egypt's protest law

Petition calls on rights watchdogs and Egyptian syndicates to join forces in calling for the controversial protest law to be abrogated

Ahram Online , Sunday 6 Jul 2014
Ahdaf Soueif  and Sonalla Ibrahim
Ahdaf Soueif (R) and Sonallah Ibrahim (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Around 700 Egyptian writers and academics have signed an open statement demanding the abrogation of a law that heavily restricts street protests and that has led to the jailing of hundreds, including pro-democracy activists who were at the forefront of the 2011 uprising.

The move was first announced 10 days ago, to reject the protest law and the "societal violence" it has caused, as well as demanding the release of those detained for what authorities deem illegal demonstrations.

"The law in effect has caused greater fallout than any expected benefit … and ignites societal violence and creates hostility between the state and the people," reads the open statement.

By early Sunday, some 700 academics and intellectuals had signed the statement, Reuters reported.

A final form with all signatures will be made available shortly, sponsors said.

Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer, authorities have mounted a sustained crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood group and other Islamist sympathisers, with hundreds dead and thousands jailed.

Dozens of secular dissidents, including leading figures of the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak, have also been jailed for breaching the protest law.

"The law violates international charters and conventions Egypt is bound by and contravenes the constitution, which enshrines the absolute right to protest upon notification," adds the statement.

The controversial protest law, condemned by Western powers and rights watchdogs for hindering freedoms, requires protesters to secure police sanction for protests at least three days in advance, and imposes jail terms and hefty fines on violators.

“The protest law allows the Egyptian authorities to ban demonstrations at their discretion and gives security forces a free rein to use force, including firearms, against peaceful protesters — a blatant violation of international law. It sends a clear message that there is no space in Egypt today for activism that is not directly sanctioned by the state,” said London-based Amnesty International last week on the jailing of a female human rights lawyer for violating the law.

Last month, 25 people, including Alaa Abdel Fattah, a prominent activist of the pro-democracy movement behind the 18-day January 2011 revolt, were sentenced to 15 years in prison for illegally protesting, among other charges.

Signatories to the open statement include former Minister of Culture Alaa Abdel Hady, prominent poet Zein Al-Abedein Fouad, screenwriter Belal Fadl, writer Ahdaf Soueif, along with Sinai-based activist and writer Mosaad Abu Al-Fagr and Nubian writer Hagag Adol — both of whom were members of the committee that drafted the country's new constitution, passed by referendum in January.

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Khoffo, Giza
06-07-2014 09:52pm
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23+
I support the Law
In every civilized nation, civil disobedience should be controlled to protect others properties and freedom. What is wrong with you people?
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Liberal libertarian
06-07-2014 07:37pm
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7+
The Coup Is the Problem Not Just one Law
Those who oppose the anti-demonstrations law are the ones who helped bring the coup to Egypt. The coup is the source of all evil. It must be removed together with military rule as the solutions to Egypt's problems.Wise up liberals pleas.
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david S
06-07-2014 06:12pm
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7+
Daily protest ousted Mubark
Why not give power back to Husni Mabark because he was ousted due to daily protest. But now we came to know that it should have been with the permission of police was illegal according to new rule stated by sisi and these people.
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3



Fair Egyptian
06-07-2014 04:14pm
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77+
No going back to distruction, fire bombs, dirty Slogans and bad emage to Egypt.
In sivilised countreis around the world you have to get permission to organize protest. We should teach ourselfs to be sivilised. Going to the street every day is not going to build the distroid by 3 years contenuse protisting. Egyptian writers and academics should teach those who want to be in the street every day that going to work every day will rebuild Egypt but going to protest every day has distroide the econmy of Egypt and affected the every day bread and butter of the Egyptians.
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medo
06-07-2014 09:32pm
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so so true
You are 100% correct. We need some rules and regulations to get the country back on track. If at a later date, when things are more stable, we can look again at this law, but thousands of people died in Egypt due to daily protests. Tourists don't come anymore as the country is not safe, everybody wants a great Egypt... but wants it for free.. Sorry, but that does not work in ANY country in the world! We need tough laws, we need price increases, we need to be decent human beings in order to have an Egypt for the children of today, who will be the future generations of tomorrow.
Margarete Hablas
06-07-2014 09:01pm
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Fair Egyptian
I could not agree with you more, In western countries one must seek permission to protest or "sit in" so that police can protect the protesters against the "brainless" criminals. I see it is high time to work together for a developing country, instead of disturbing the public, Writers and intelectuals should know better,
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Tashery Otway-Smithers
06-07-2014 04:11pm
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Egyptian protests and political parties
In that so called bastion of democracy the USA political parties based on religion are not legal as they are not legal under the new Egyptian constitution.Yet some Americans are calling for their restitution in Egypt in the interest of inclusiveness.That does not make sense. Egypt needs tourists to return the relative quiet in I he streets
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ayman
06-07-2014 02:11pm
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The "Intellectuals" are back
As one of the people who got their car wrecked in these riots, I fully support the demonstration organization law. It is even more lenient than in many "democratic" countries. Ms. Ahdaf Soueif should acknowledge that the country is not her nephew's playground to destroy as he pleases and call it protesting. If the public wanted the law removed they would have elected Mr. Sabahi.
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