Egypt activist demands scrapping of protest law


Egypt’s prominent activist Alaa Abdel Fattah has demanded the scrapping of an anti-protest law that was imposed as part of a sweeping crackdown on opposition protesters.

Military-backed authorities in Egypt passed the controversial law last November. The law bans protests without security permissions, which are almost never granted. It also authorizes security forces to prevent any public gathering of more than 10 people.

Moreover, under the law, any protestor taking part in an unauthorized protest faces harsh prison penalties, which have gone up to 15 years in a number of cases.

Since then, hundreds of anti-government protesters and Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been jailed for staging demonstrations.

“The protest law is [being used against] workers, students, April 6 leaders, and any opposition against the current regime,” Abdel Fattah told reporters on Wednesday.

The law “should be lifted and not amended,” he added.

Egypt has been the scene of massive anti-government protests with continuous clashes between security forces and supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi since his ouster by the military in July 2013.

Rights groups say the army’s crackdown on the supporters of Morsi has left over 1,400 people dead and 22,000 arrested, while some 200 people have been sentenced to death in mass trials.

Thirty two-year-old Abdel Fattah, who is a symbol of the 2011 revolution that toppled former dictator Hosni Mubarak, was recently released on bail during a retrial after being sentenced to 15 years in jail.

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