Cairo weighs new protest laws

Feb. 14, 2013 at 11:18 AM
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CAIRO, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The success of a demonstration against the government depends in large part on how peaceful it is, the Egyptian minister of justice said.

The Egyptian government passed a draft measure that it says is meant to ensure public safety during demonstrations.

Protests turned violent last month as Egyptians marked two years since a popular uprising forced Hosni Mubarak to resign as president after 30 years in power.

Protesters on the Feb. 11 anniversary of Mubarak's formal resignation expressed frustration with recent political developments in front of the presidential headquarters in Cairo.

Egyptian Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki said a successful demonstration depends on how peaceful it is, noting the new measures are meant to ensure public safety, reports the Egyptian State Information Service.

The law would prohibit demonstrations within 600 feet of government buildings and require protest groups to notify authorities within three days of planned demonstrations.

The bill would have to pass through the Egyptian Parliament to become law.

U.S. President Barack Obama said during his State of the Union address Tuesday that basic rights were key in countries undergoing political transformation.

"We cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt, but we can -- and will -- insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people," he said.

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