Egyptian protest permits to be issued online 'soon'

Ahram Online, Monday 6 Jan 2014

Interior ministry to establish an online service to deal with requests for protests under controversial assembly law

Mohamed Ibrahim
File photo:Egypt's Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim (C) looks on during the funerals of policemen killed during clashes in Cairo, in this August 15, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has approved a decision to provide authorisation for protests via the ministry's official website.

Monday's decision, which will be implemented 'soon', was designed to speed up the procedure, according to Al-Ahram Arabic news website.

Under the protest law people who want to organise a public meeting, march or protest must notify in writing the police station whose jurisdiction includes the public meeting's location or the starting point of a march or protest.

The law, issued by the interim government on 24 November, also states that organisers of a demonstration will be exposed to jail sentences and hefty fines if a protest takes place without prior police consent.

On 22 December, a court sentenced three leading activists – Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel and Ahmed Douma – to three years in jail and a LE50,000 fine on charges including organising illegal protests.

Last Thursday, a group of Alexandria-based activists were sentenced to two years in jail and a LE50,000 fine for organising an unauthorised protest during the Khaled Said retrial.

The protest law, which has been widely condemned by rights group, has sparked fears among non-Islamist political activists of a potential crackdown on them by security forces.

Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members have been arrested.

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