Egypt Islamic coalition calls for ban on 'disruptive' protest activity

Ahram Online, Tuesday 5 Feb 2013

Coalition of Islamic parties and movements – including Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist Call – calls for legal ban on 'disruptive' political activity, blasts perceived anti-Islamist media bias

 Islamic Forces
Islamist leaders from (L) to (R) Abdel Ghafar - Watan Party, Zomor - Gamaa Islamiya, Katatni - FJP, Makhioun - Nour Party (Photo: Ahram Online)

The Islamic Forces Coalition, which consists of 13 Egyptian Islamic parties and movements, has called for the criminalisation of all "disruptive" political activity, including the blocking of streets and public squares.

In a Tuesday statement, the coalition – which includes the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Call – called for reopening Tahrir Square to traffic. It also called for investigations into recent incidents of rape in Cairo's best-known protest venue.

Traffic through Tahrir has been closed since December, when demonstrators converged on the flashpoint square to protest a controversial decree issued by President Mohamed Morsi. Tahrir remained closed off to traffic during subsequent protests marking the second anniversary of Egypt's January 25 revolution.

In its statement, the coalition went on to urge the Egyptian media to refrain from publishing "seditious content" and to select with caution the material they chose to run. The coalition also criticised what it described as "increasingly anti-Islamist sentiments" in the local media.

"We condemn all television channels and newspapers that incite or justify acts of violence and vandalism," the coalition declared. "We hold them fully responsible for the recent [political] crisis and see them as spearheading the ongoing counter-revolution."

The coalition also called on the Shura Council (the upper house of Egypt's parliament, currently endowed with legislative powers) to issue laws regulating protest activity.

Opposition forces, for their part, have voiced disapproval for any proposed anti-protest legislation, which they see as a potential breach of human rights.

Since the second anniversary of Egypt's 25 January Revolution, the country has witnessed violent protests nationwide in which dozens have been killed and hundreds injured.

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