- Life Style
As lawmakers debate the extension of Egypt's Emergency Law, opposition groups are staging a sit-in on the sidewalk in front of parliament against the law's anticipated renewal.
"Representatives of different national groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Karama party and independents, have gathered today to voice their opposition to the renewal of the Emergency Law being discussed today in the parliament," said Kareema el-Hefnawy, a member of the Association of Egyptian Women for Change.
Demonstrators chanted, recited protest poetry and carried banners with slogans such as "No to the emergency law's extension." A double police cordon surrounded the protesters, while other security forces, including women officers, stood on the opposite sidewalk.
"Once the protesters gathered, police encircled them, but no clashes took place," added Dalia el-Naggar, a woman activist.
Meanwhile, El-Hefnawy expressed skepticism about what the Emergency Law is actually intended to accomplish. "This law has allegedly been extended to protect the country from terrorism and the drug trade. But since its implementation, more drugs have been brought into the Egypt, while unemployment and crime--such as the Naga Hammadi incident on Coptic Christmas eve--have increased. So has this law really protected Egypt?"
She also expressed her convicition that the law be passed so long as the ruling National Democratic Party holds a majority of seats in parliament.
The protest started at 11 AM and turned into an open ended sit-in. It takes place amidst an upsurge of other protests on the same sidewalk, including sit-ins by workers from the Maasara Telephone Company and the Nubaria Company for Engineering and Agricultural Machinery who are protesting their work poor conditions.