Nour Party says political groups agreed to reject protest law

Bahaa Eddin promised to convey the opposing viewpoints to Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi.

Nour Party says political groups agreed to reject protest law

World Bulletin/News Desk

Egypt's Salafist Nour Party has said that there was consensus among political groups that supported ouster of president Mohamed Morsi to reject a controversial protest law proposed by the government.

Representatives from the groups which backed Morsi's overthrow held a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa Eddin, during which they expressed opposition to the law, Talaat Marzouk, member of the party's high committee, said in a statement late Monday.

The political powers "agreed that the timing of the issuance of the protest law is unsuitable, and that such law should be issued by the parliament, not an interim government," the statement said.

Marzouk said that Bahaa Eddin promised to convey the opposing viewpoints to Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi.

The legislation has already drawn immediate rebuke from the country's human rights groups and political powers.

Critics insist that the new law places unprecedented restrictions on the right to organize a protest or stage a sit-in and gives security agencies a free hand to restrain freedom of expressions.

According to the new law, organizers must notify the interior ministry about the time, motives, demands, venue and participants of a protest 24 hours in advance.

It forbids demonstrators from coming 50-100 meters near presidential palaces, cabinet and parliament headquarters and police stations, allowing policemen to use force to disperse non-abiding protesters.

Violators will be arrested and face prison sentences and a fine of up to 300,000 Egyptian pounds (around $40,000).

The law also grants authorities the right to prevent a protest or change its planned venue on the grounds of possible threats to public interests or traffic disruption.

But Deputy Prime Minister Hossam Eissa played down mounting criticism of the new law.

"The law does not restrict freedom of expression because protests can be held after prior notification only, and if the interior minister sees that a protest would disturb peace, he would prohibit it," Eissa, who also serves as the minister of higher education, told a press conference earlier this week.

"Protest organizers can go to the court of urgent matters if authorities refuse to allow the protest," he added.

Last Mod: 22 Ekim 2013, 10:30
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