Parliament approves changes to Protest Law

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The House of Representatives approved on Tuesday amendments to the Protest Law which were put in place last December after the Constitutional Court ruled that various articles of the law were contrary to the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court made a number of declarations regarding the law, and had said that these recommendations will be published in the Official Gazette. The cabinet will also receive a copy.

In the court ruling, the Constitutional Court declared Article 10 unconstitutional. Article 10 gives the Ministry of Interior the right to ban protests, but the court deemed it contradictory to Article 73, which stipulates that and individual has the right to protest, something in which no authority should interfere.

The court, however, did uphold Article 8, which states that protesters should notify officials prior to staging a protest.

It also rejected appeals on articles 7 and 19, which impose penalties on any protestor who violates the law’s terms, thus upholding their constitutionality.

Many activists have been detained for violating the law, including Alaa Abdel Fattah and human rights lawyer Mahienour El-Massry. They were charged with illegal assembly and protesting without authorisation.

The Protest Law was issued in late November 2013 by interim president Adly Mansour. The law imposes a series of restrictions, such as requiring protesters to file for permission at the nearest police station. Police stations often reject the request. In addition, the number of protesters is not allowed to exceed the number filed in the request, nor are they allowed to move the protest to another location not specified in their initial request.

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