Egypt Passes Harsh New Anti-Protest Law

Adly Mansour signed a law that bans public gatherings of more than 10 people without police approval and authorizes the use of force on protesters.

Egypt Passes Harsh New Anti-Protest Law
Wikimedia Commons / Amsg07

Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour signed a new anti-protest law Sunday in what activists are calling a repressive crackdown on the rights of demonstrators.

The new law prohibits any public gathering of more than 10 people without police permission, which must be sought three days in advance. It also legitimizes the use of force to break up illegal protests. (Via BBC)

Past Egyptian leaders, including former military dictator Hosni Mubarak, had considered versions of this policy in the past but never made it law. Egypt's prime minister told reporters it's "not a law that limits the right to demonstrate, but it aims at protecting the right of protesters​." (Via Al-Ahram)

But activists and human rights campaigners have fought the bill's passage for years, criticizing it as a restrictive effort to stifle dissent and ban peaceful protests.

A Human Rights Watch director said the law "would effectively mandate the police to ban all protests outright and to use force to disperse ongoing protests. ... [It would] truly strangle what's left of independent political life in Egypt."

Egyptian activists say the law is targeted at supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted from power in July and is now on trial for inciting violence. (Via The Telegraph)

The country has seen near-daily protests since Morsi's removal. The new law goes into effect just after the 100-day anniversary of clashes between pro-Morsi protesters and police, which left more than 600 people dead. (Via CBS)

Egyptian authorities recently lifted a three-month state of emergency prompted by those clashes.