Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour signs 'anti-protest law'


Protesters hold placards showing the "Rabia sign" while taking part in a rally on Aug. 24, 2013. The Egyptian government is expected to sign into law this week a ban on spontaneous protests.



New rules limiting protests were signed by Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour on Sunday, requiring prior approval for demonstrations.

The legislation, of which a final version has yet to be issued, has been condemned by human rights activists as repressive and anti-democratic.

The law is expected to enter into effect later this week.

The law has gone through several revisions but the current draft requires protesters to seek approval from police three days before any demonstration.

"They could have stuck to earlier versions, where if the interior ministry wants to ban a protest, the onus is on them to go to court and seek a ban," said Heba Morayef, Egypt director for Human Rights Watch, according to Al Jazeera.

"Instead they've done the opposite. The end result is that we could see an increase in violent crackdowns on peaceful protests."

Another draft demanded 24 hours' notice before any election campaign event — a clause that has serious implications for any fledgling democracy.

"This is quite dangerous ahead of elections — in normal times also, but (particularly) ahead of elections," said Ziad Abdel Tawab of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, cited by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Processions of more than 10 people are allowed only for non-political purposes, severely curtailing freedom of assembly.

If the rules are broken, fines can reach to over $4,000.

Egypt's interim government is said to be drafting a range of laws to curb unrest, according to Al Jazeera, including a vaguely worded anti-terrorism law and a law prohibiting graffiti.

The government argues that the law was designed to help regulate the protests that occur almost daily throughout Egypt, Al Jazeera said.