World Bulletin / News Desk
Scores of political activists demonstrated in downtown Cairo on Wednesday against a new law aimed at "regulating" street protests and to demand the release of demonstrators detained during a Tuesday rally.
Protesters, who gathered on Talaat Harb Street near Cairo's flashpoint Tahrir Square, chanted against the newly-approved law, which makes it illegal to organize protests without prior security approval.
Egypt's Interior Ministry, for its part, said protest organizers had obtained permission to stage the planned demonstration.
In a statement, the ministry said the protest "is meant to show its rejection of the protest law and demand the release of demonstrators detained during an unlicensed Tuesday protest outside the parliament building."
Earlier Wednesday, Egyptian prosecutors remanded 24 activists in custody for four days pending investigation on charges that they had staged a protest outside the parliament building without prior approval.
According to judicial sources, detained protestors face charges of thuggery, assaulting on-duty civil servants, possession of bladed weapons and protesting without license.
Prosecutors also ordered the arrest of prominent activists Alaa Abdel-Fattah and Ahmed Maher on the same charges.
During Tuesday's protest, demonstrators chanted slogans against the police and the controversial new protest law.
Police used water cannons and teargas to disperse the crowd.
The new law makes it necessary for protest organizers to submit written notification to the Interior Ministry three days prior to staging a demonstration.
It also gives the ministry the right to deny organizers permission to protest if the planned demo is deemed a "threat to security or public safety" or if security conditions are found to be "inappropriate."
According to the law, violators will either be fined or imprisoned – penalties that provoked the ire of many Egyptian politicians and activists who say the legislation curbs freedoms and gives police free rein to bar popular protest.
Egypt's govt insists to enforce controversial protest law
Egypt's army-installed interim cabinet on Wednesday reiterated determination to enforce a new controversial protest law to the letter despite a popular uproar.
"We will offer every help needed to security forces to enforce the law," the government said in a statement read out by Deputy Premier Higher Education Minister Hossam Essa.
"We warn the nation's political and revolutionary forces against being entrapped by extremists," he warned. "These forces should realize the enormity of the dangers besetting our country."
The Egyptian prosecution earlier today remanded 24 activists in custody for four days pending questioning on charges of breaching the new law by protesting without permission.Last Mod: 28 Kasım 2013, 10:58