April 6 launch campaign to revoke protest law

Ahram Online, Saturday 22 Mar 2014

The movement's founder and another member were sentenced three years for illegal protesting. Group to stage national campaign against protest law

Egyptian policemen use a water canon to disperse protesters during a demonstration against military trials for civilians on November 26, 2013. (Photo : Ahram )

Egypt's April 6 Youth Movement launched a petition Saturday calling for the cancellation of the controversial protest law.

"The movement calls on all Egyptians to sign the petition which will be presented to the presidency and the cabinet," read the movement's statement, adding it will continue to pressure for revoking the law, and for the release of political activists charged with protesting illegally, using all media, political, judicial and popular means in a campaign known as "Free Egypt."

The movement added that it has already held meetings with members of the Committee of 50, which drafted Egypt's new national charter, and national figures and plan to move with all political forces in order to lobby for the cancellation of the law.

According to the statement, the law became unconstitutional after the ratification of the amended national charter in January.

The protest law issued last November, which criminalises unauthorised demonstrations, provoked uproar among several rights group and political forces. Scores of protesters have been arrested since then.

The detention of activists for violating the law has fueled fears of an expanding crackdown on opposition by the country's interim authorities, beyond a sustained campaign against Islamists since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013.

Among those currently behind bars on charges of illegal protesting are April 6 founder Ahmed Maher, and member Mohamed Adel, prominent activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, and long-time activist Ahmed Douma.

Douma, Maher and Adel are currently appealing a three-year jail sentence they received for violating the law last November.

Meanwhile, Abdel-Fattah and 24 co-defendants will stand in a separate trial on the same charges 23 March.

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