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Activists to test new Egypt protest law

Scope of new protest law to be tested by veteran activists on Monday

Ahram Online, Monday 25 Nov 2013
Tahrir Square
Egyptian army soldiers guard with armoured personnel carriers (APC) near Tahrir Square in Cairo August 19, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)

In the first test of Egypt’s new protest law, activists will request permission for a demonstration against the law, which they label "repressive."

Mohamed Adel, a founding member of the April 6 Youth Movement, and Ali Esam of the liberal Constitution Party will request a protest permit at Qasr El-Nil police station on Monday, they said in a statement.

The new law, which was officially issued on Sunday by interim president Adly Mansour, requires protest organisers to obtain prior permission from the police. It imposes hefty fines for protests held without advance notification.

“We want to organise a protest against the protest law in Tahrir Square on the first day of December,” Adel told Ahram Online. “We are also demanding the sacking of government ministers, including interior and defence, for failing to protect Egypt’s security after 30 June.”

If the request for a permit is rejected, it will be “a clear message on how repressive this law is,” Adel added.

The law has been labeled "anti-protests" by rights groups and activists, who say it fails to protect freedom of assembly and promotes heavy-handed state intervention.

This view has been disputed by the interim authorities.

"It is not a law that limits the right to demonstrate. It protects the rights of protesters," Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi told AFP on Sunday

According to Beblawi, the law does not require protesters to obtain permission to demonstrate, but requires they give advance "notice" of any protest.

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