Egypt’s Protest Law Violates Basic Freedoms
Photo Credit: Sherif Dabbous
Freedom House condemns the restrictive new "protest law" signed by Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, as a blatant violation of freedoms of expression and association.
This law requires Egyptians to seek approval days in advance before organizing demonstrations, banning public gatherings of more than 10 people without prior warning, imposing hefty fines and jail terms for violators. Violators could face fines of more than $40,000 and up to seven years imprisonment . The law is scheduled to take effect later this week after publication of the final text in the official state register.
The new law also bars gatherings in places of worship, which have been regular meeting places for protestors and gives police the right -- following warnings -- to gradually increase their use of force, including the use of water cannons, tear gas and clubs. It thereby gives police wide latitude to enforce a widespread crackdown.
The proposed measure is a step back from the military’s declaration that the political transition to an elected civilian government must include “national reconciliation.” These new restrictions on basic freedoms will undermine that goal, further jeopardizing prospects for a democratic transition and an inclusive political culture.
Freedom House calls on interim President Mansour to withdraw the proposed law and freely permit Egyptians of all political persuasions to peacefully and publically express their political views.
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