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Egypt's interior minister 'does not mind amending' protest law

Egyptian interior minister said that his police force only implements laws and does not legislate them

Ahram Online, Monday 15 Sep 2014
 Mohammed Ibrahim
Egypt's Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim talks protest law and back to university to media (Photo: AP)

Egypt's Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said on Sunday he "does not have any problem" with amending the protest law under which police have arrested thousands since November 2013.

Ibrahim said in a press conference that his ministry is not "responsible for legislation," but rather "implements it".

The controversial protest law, which was issued by the cabinet last November and ratified by interim president Adly Mansour, has already  sent thousands of protesters (mostly Islamists) to jail and mandates heafty fines.

The law requires protest organisers to notify authorities three days in advance of a protest's aims and demands, and imposes heavy jail terms and fines on individuals who break the law.

Local and international rights groups have criticised the law for being too restrictive.

Egypt still does not have a parliament as it was dissolved following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi last year. Parliamentary elections are expected to be held in the coming months.

Eighty-two people in Egyptian jails are on hunger-strike in protest against the law and to call for its amendment and their own release.

A solidarity hunger strike has been launched in recent days by 242 others, including families, activists and journalists. In addition, seven political parties have endorsed the strike and opened their doors for strikers' sit-ins.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim later said to privately-owned CBC TV that police will work to protect university students in the upcoming academic year.

The last academic year witnessed clashes between police and protesting students, mainly from the Muslim Brotherhood, after the popular military-backed ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.

Ibrahim assured "moderate" students that police forces aim "to protect" and not attack them, adding that "Muslim Brotherhood students cannot wait to spark chaos on campuses" this year.

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