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Secular Egyptian groups demonstrate against protest law
Hundreds marched in downtown Cairo demanding the release of activists who were jailed for holding unauthorised protests
Ahram Online, Thursday 10 Apr 2014
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Protest Law
Protesters march through downtown Cairo on Thursday 10 April, 2014 to demand cancellation of protest law (Photo: Ahram Arabic news website)

Egyptian anti-government groups on Thursday held a march in central Cairo in protest at a law that imposes strict limits on public demonstrations.

Three prominent activists were recently jailed for three years under the provisions of the law.

Thousands of protesters, both Islamists and non-Islamists have been arrested since the law was enacted last November.

The march, organised by the Way of the Revolution movement, started with a press conference at the Journalists Syndicate and a sit-in on the steps of the building, followed by a march in the streets close to Tahrir Square.

Protesters called for the release of those detained at previous illegal demonstrations.

Groups supporting the protest included the April 6 Youth Movement and the Revolutionary Socialists.

The government said the protest law, passed in November of last year, was essential to bring back control and stability to the streets.

Under the law, protest organisers are required to notify the authorities at least three day prior to any public demonstration. Violators can be punished with jail terms and hefty fines.

Several local and international rights groups have criticised the law and the way it has been used by authorities.

Earlier this week, an Egyptian court rejected an appeal by activists Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma against their three-year prison sentences and fined each LE50,000 for protesting without permission.

At the protest on Thursday, demonstrators held banners with the slogans “release Egypt" and "release the prisoners of revolution" and held pictures of the jailed activists.

They also chanted against former military chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, a presidential hopeful likely to have a sweeping victory at the upcoming presidential elections.

Leading member of Way of the Revolution movement, Zizo Abdo, told Ahram Online the group had agreed on a number of escalating events including student protests and protest graffiti.

He said a conference by legal representatives of different movements will be held Monday and another conference by rights groups including Hisham Mubarak Law Centre Saturday.

The two conferences will plan a framework to get the protest law suspended.

"This law is part of a legal repressive effort by the regime," Abdo said. "This regime does not want any kind of dissent even if it was patriotic and peaceful."

Demonstrations, particularly by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, did not stop the law was issued, but the size of anti-government street protests seem to have reduced.

"We are not against a law organising protests but this law suppresses demonstrations," Abdo said. "This is a real flaw of this interim regime."

On 26 April, the different groups will march to the presidential palace in Cairo to demand Interim President Adly Mansour suspend the law. 



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3



leila fawzi
11-04-2014 01:46pm
107-
1137+
Abuse of freedom of speech and other matters
Freedom of speech is enchrined in each and every democracy. Freedom of speech includes - amongst other issues - holding demonstrations, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. All these rights have been resctricted since the military took over with more of the same for the future. Many so-called abusers have been lingering in prisons with no end in sight with their court appesrsnces serving only only to extend their imprisonment. Democracy is much more than just having an election every now and then.
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Allen
12-04-2014 08:22am
600-
40+
Laila get your facts straight.
Many rights have been restricted since the Muslim brotherhood terrorists took over. Abused the right to demonstrate by using demonstrations as their platform for violence. Abused their right as an organization by bombing Egyptians and tourists indesciminately. Abused their freedom of speech by conspiring against Egypt and Egyptians at large... Nothing confusing about the reality of the Muslim brotherhood terrorists. Unless you want to remain brainwashed.
2



Hamdi Fahmi
11-04-2014 01:40pm
3-
468+
they must be eradicated
Any opposition to Sissi must be eradicated. period
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1



Ain Loc
10-04-2014 11:47pm
1-
5+
The future governing coalition?
These guys will be the future of Egypt.
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