New protest venue designated to host no-notice Cairo demonstrations

MENA and Ahram Online , Friday 6 Dec 2013

Following a newly enacted protest law mandating that all protests be approved by police authorities, Cairo Governor has allocated parts of a garden in southern Cairo to host peaceful demonstrations without prior notification

Al-Fustat garden in southern Cairo (Photo: Al-Ahram Arabic news website)

On Friday, Cairo Governor Galal Mostafa designated a space of 20 fedans (84,000 square metres) in Al-Fustat Garden in Old Cairo for peaceful demonstrations, marches or general meetings that have not been preauthorised, as Egypt's new protest law requires.

According to state-owned news agency MENA, security forces will ensure the safety of citizens protesting in this newly allocated venue.

The interior pathways of the park have been paved, and efforts have been made to ensure the park has all of the necessary facilities for protesters. Protesters entering the garden's southern gate will not be asked to pay for entry tickets.

According to Egypt's recently enacted protest law, demonstrators must submit an application for any planned protests to the authorities at least three days prior to the event. Failure to do so will result in heavy fines or jail sentences.

However, Article 15 of the protest law states that “protests in specifically designated venues will be allowed without prior notification. Such spaces will be defined by the governor."

Tens of protesters have been detained since interim president Adly Mansour issued the law on 24 November.

Two weeks ago, 52 activists were arrested for their participation in unauthorised protests against military trials for civilians. Last Friday, at least 183 Muslim Brotherhood members were arrested for "conducting unauthorised protests and blocking roads" during anti-government demonstrations.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi has stressed that the law is vital to protecting the safety of citizens and protesters.

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