Parliament approves government amendments to Protest Law

The Parliament has finally approved the government amendments to Article 10 in the Protest Law after the parlimaentary committees of National Defense and Security along with Constitutional and Legislative Affairs discussed the changes.

The head of the Parliament, Ali Abdel Aal, said the final decision on the law has been taken following its previous review by the State Council. "The majority required for the approval of the bill was obtained,” he said.

The article gave the Interior Minister and security chiefs the right to ban, delay or change the route of a protest if they had information or evidence that it might threaten the security and national peace. In December 2016 the Constitutional Court’s cited the unconstitutionality of the article and issued a decision saying that the Ministry of Interior has no longer has the right to cancel or delay any protest, because its violation to "a constitutional right", which pushed the Parliament to declare the unconstitutionality of the article in January as well.

The new amendments suggested by the government stipulate that either the Minister of Interior or security chiefs can submit a request to a court in the first instance in order to cancel or postpone a public meeting, procession or a demonstration, move it to another place or to change its path if there is a threat to national security and peace.

Then after receiving the request the judge shall immediately issue a reasoned decision and the administrative body should be notified upon its issuance; the amendments give protest organizers the right to file a complaint against the decision, in accordance with the rules of the Civil and Commercial Procedure Law.

The government explained that the final decision would be issued by the judge of urgent matters who could suspend, delay or change the location of the demonstration, thus guaranteeing that the judiciary can monitor any attempt to obstruct this constitutional right. 

The Protest Law was issued in November 2013 by interim president Adly Mansour to regulate the right to public meetings, processions and peaceful protests.

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