Circulated bill would curb protest freedoms

Activists are decrying online a draft law that would restrict demonstrations to certain hours and require organizers to notify authorities in advance of a protest.

“The draft law and its penalties violate freedoms,” Hafez Abu Seada, head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, wrote online.
The legislative and human rights committees of the Shura Council drafted the 26-article bill that stipulates competent authorities must be notified of the date and location of sit-ins and may refuse permission for the event if it threatens public order or security. Meetings may only occur between 7 am and 11 pm, with the police retaining the right to attend, and demonstrations may take place between the hours of 7 am and 7 pm, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by Al-Masry Al-Youm Sunday.
 “They should first repeal the laws that restrict freedoms before they come up with one organizing demonstrations,” wrote columnist Wael Abdel Fattah.
The draft also prohibits seditious chants or disruptions of state institutions or public interests and imposes fines of up to LE100,000 or one year in prison.
However, Cabinet spokesperson Alaa al-Hadidy said no bill organizing demonstrations was discussed in Sunday’s meeting. Atef Awad, a Wasat Party Shura Council member, also wrote on Twitter that the committees reportedly responsible for the draft had not discussed it Sunday. 
“And they have the audacity to call it the constitution of the revolution,” singer Abdel Aziz al-Shafey wrote, referring to the recently approved constitution which granted temporary legislative powers to the Shura Council until parliamentary elections can be held.
April 6 Youth Movement spokesperson Mohamed Adel sardonically said, “What do those who voted for the constitution have to say now? There is something called revolution if they forgot.”
“That law cannot withstand the lion hearts and roaring throats above which the souls of the martyrs flutter,” said activist Hadir Adel.
Gamal Eid, director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information responded to the proposal: “The laws of Mubarak and the military are back by the Brotherhood-elected civilian dictator."
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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