Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

13 February 2013

Egypt: Cabinet Approves Law Regulating Demonstration

Egypt's Islamist-led cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law that regulates demonstrations.

Supporters of the law say that it fits the international democratic criteria while its opponents believe that it gives the state more powers suppress protests.

The law will be referred to the Shura Council which is currently the main legislative body until a People's Assembly is elected in the coming months.

The law was drafted "to restore the aspect of peacefulness to the demonstrations which is one of the strongest rights given to the people of Egypt", the state news agency reported Minister of Justice Ahmed Mekki as saying.

"This law seems to be put to increase restraints whereas the existing legal framework which dates back to the early Twentieth century is bad enough," Heba Morayef, director of the Human Rights Watch in Cairo, has told Reuters News Agency.

"If one demonstrator commits an offense, this gives the police the right to diffuse the whole demonstration," Moreyaf added.

Around 60 people were killed in violence protests against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi between 25 January which coincided with the second anniversary of the 2011 uprising and February 4.

Political, economic, and social protests have become part of the everyday life in Egypt during the past two years.

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