Egypt's opposition parties organise petition to abolish protest law

Ahram Online , Tuesday 2 Jun 2015

The petition calls on the Supreme Constitutional Court to look into the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the controversial November 2013 protest law

A petition calling upon Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court to review a controversial protest law was signed by 358 people in two weeks, Khaled Dawoud, spokesperson for the Constitution party said Tuesday during a press conference at the Egypt Freedom Party headquarters.

The new petition calls upon the Supreme Constitutional Court to consider a lawsuit, filed in June 2014 by lawyers Khaled Ali and Tarek El-Awady, that challenges the constitutionality of the protest law.

The protest law, issued on 24 November 2013 under former interim president Adly Mansour, mandates a minimum of three days notice to the interior ministry before holding demonstrations, and punishes anyone who fails to obtain a permit with up to three years in prison. The law also grants the interior ministry the right to ban or postpone assemblies.

The press conference was held by Karama, Popular Socialist Alliance, Popular Current, Constitution, Free Egyptians, and Justice political parties that make up the Democratic Current coalition, in addition to the Egyptian Social Democratic and Bread and Freedom parties.

Dawoud said the Democratic Current coalition and other "revolutionary parties" demand that the court looks into the lawsuit, adding that the law was unconstitutional, Al-Ahram's Arabic news website reported.

He said the petition was made available two weeks ago on social media and that the coalition has considered making the petition available to the general public, expanding from social media platforms.

Dawoud said 50 public figures are among the signatories, including former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi and prominent political science professor and former parliamentarian Amr Hamzawy.

The petition's signatories also include human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) member George Ishak, and most leaders of the Democratic Current, such as the Popular Current's leader Abdel-Ghaffar Shukr, who is also deputy head of the NCHR.

Thousands of protesters who did not apply for permits have been arrested since November 2013, with hundreds receiving jail sentences and fines.

Dawoud said the increasing frustration felt by the youth could end if the "unconstitutional" protest law problem is solved. 

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