Egypt

Egypt committee wants protest law changed

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Amid rising political violence in Egypt, an Egyptian government committee has demanded that Cairo make changes to a piece of controversial anti-protest legislation that was imposed as part of a sweeping crackdown on opposition protesters.

On Wednesday, the government-ordered committee that is formed to investigate acts of violence since the ouster of Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013 blamed both the Muslim Brotherhood movement and the Egyptian police for the upheaval in the country.

It said the police used disproportionate force during the protests in support of Morsi.

Citing “inappropriately heavy punishments,” the interior minister’s right to ban any peaceful protests, and articles in the anti-protest legislation that seem to violate the constitution, the committee’s report described the law as flawed.

“There is a need to form a committee of experts to reconsider the law,” the report read.

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 reach 15 years in a number of cases.

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

Egypt has been the scene of massive anti-government protests with continuous clashes between security forces and the supporters of 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.

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