Egypt criticizes HRW report on protest law

March 30, 2013 at 2:12 PM
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CAIRO, March 30 (UPI) -- Egypt's Shura Council has blasted a Human Rights Watch report critical of the country's new protest law, accusing HRW of interfering in Egyptian affairs.

HRW issued a report on the proposed law last month that said it would "severely limit the right to peaceful public assembly and is open to abuse by police," Ahram Online reported.

The law was "passed in principle" Tuesday by the Shura Council, the upper house of Egypt's parliament. It requires organizers to give official notice to authorities of the start time, route and demands of any demonstration three days in advance, and gives authorities power to disperse any protest that does not comply with the law.

HRW called some of the articles of the law "vague" -- including one provision that prohibits "demonstrations that interfere with 'citizens' interests' or that halt traffic or interfere with the right to work."

Shura Council Human Rights Committee Secretary Ezzeddin El-Komy said Friday the HRW's statements were an "interference in Egyptian affairs" and that the law is still "being discussed in the appropriate Shura Council committees."

The Free Egyptians Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party staged a protest Saturday in front of the High Court in Cairo to show solidarity with Mahinour al-Masry and 12 other activists who were arrested Friday in Alexandria for allegedly damaging and attempting to storm the Raml Police Station and injuring several police personnel, al-Masry al-Youm reported.

Former parliament member Bassem Kamel issued a statement calling Masry "one of Alexandria's bravest revolutionaries" and urging dissidents to "stand by her and [the likes of her]."

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