CAIRO, October 22, 2013 — The interim Egyptian government released a draft of the law aimed at curbing protests, which ironically sparked renewed protests by several groups.
On Saturday October 19, 2013 students of Al Azhar university, the oldest Islamic University in Egypt, organized a protest to condemn what they called ’a military coup’ against President Mohammed Morsi and to demand the ouster of the current military-backed government. The student’s protests continued for three day,s and by Monday October 21, 2013 they spread to other universities in Cairo, including Cairo University.
Meanwhile, a different group of over 1,000 protesters demonstrated outside the high court demanding the release of 25 supporters of the Al Ahly sports team, who were detained last week during clashes at the Cairo Airport. The 25 were detained after they went to airport to welcome the Al Ahly team as it returned from Morocco, and used fireworks and tried to break into the arrival hall of the airport
On Sunday October 20th, 2013-10-22, a terrorist attack took place at a wedding ceremony in a Coptic church. An armed man killed three Copts, including an 8 year old girl, and leaft 10 injured. This is the first attack against Christians in Cairo since the ouster of Morsi. Copts, who form 10 % of Egypt’s population, have long complained of discrimination and marginalization. Human Rights groups in Egypt say that Copts are particularly vulnerable in the Menya and Asuit governorates. Amnesty International says that more than 200 Christian properties have been attacked and more than 43 churches all over the country have been torched and seriously damaged since the August crackdown against pro-Morsi’s supporters.
In the midst of the turmoil, the government released the a draft protest law. The cabinet has submitted the draft to interim President Adly Mansour for ratification.
Several political movements are criticizing the law. According to the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP), the draft is “a dangerous setback from the democratic path gained since the January, 25th revolution.“ Amnesty International particularly criticized Article 13 of the law, which gives security forces the right to use further force if they are in a position of “legitimate self-defence.
The Tamarod (Rebellion) group also criticized the protest law. Hassan Shahin urged the interim government to refer the bill to the National Council for Human Rights. He said “just as we should face terrorist organisations and non-peaceful protests according to the laws, such laws should not infringe upon people’s rights to freely express their opinion”.
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