CAIRO: Several political forces including El-Ghad political party, the Revolutionary Forces Alliance and the Revolution Youth Union called for a silent protest Friday against the recent activation of emergency law clauses.
"We mainly aim by this protest to object to the continuation of the emergency law," head of El-Ghad party Ayman Nour told Daily News Egypt.
"It is true there is a security vacuum that needs to be filled. But it requires a political will to put into force the regular penal code and strengthening security institutions," Nour, also a presidential hopeful, added.
The Revolution Youth Union, one of the entities in the Revolutionary Forces Alliance, had earlier called for holding the protest. The alliance involves about 60 political groups, movements and parties.
During a press conference held at El-Ghad Party headquarters on Thursday, the political forces asked all Egyptians to protest on the following day at the same time at all squares of Egypt and leave by 6 pm without holding any sit-ins afterwards.
The organizers said they would hold the following Friday mass protests under the slogan of "One Million-Man March of Restoring the Revolution."
The call for the Sept. 16 protest is made under the slogans of "No to Emergency Law" and the "Friday of Deafening Silence."
But not all political are participating, even with proclaimed rejection of continuing the state of emergency.
Saad El-Katatny, secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, said the party won’t participate in Friday’s protest, but stressed the party’s rejection of expanding the powers of the emergency law. He called for ending the state of emergency before the parliamentary elections.
He said a vision of stability and development should be adopted without postponing the elections or extending the transitional period.
He pointed out that ending the state of emergency was one of the main demands of the January 25 Revolution, making it unacceptable to bring the country back to these extraordinary measures again.
On Sunday, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) decided to amend a number of articles and add new ones to the emergency law after clashes erupted recently between protesters and police and army forces outside the Israeli and Saudi embassies as well as the nearby Giza security directorate.
Decree number 193 of 2011 released by SCAF dictates that the rules of imposing an emergency state are valid in case of facing domestic disturbances, terrorism and disruption of national security and public order.
The emergency law is further enforced when confronting acts of thuggery, attacks against the freedom to work, the sabotage of institutions, the disruption of transportation, the obstruction of roads and the deliberate broadcasting or spreading of false news, rumors or statements.
The law also applies to funding weapons and arms trafficking and drugs.
Amnesty International on Thursday called on Egypt’s military authorities to end the state of emergency, slamming a recent expansion of the law as a "serious erosion of human rights."
"The military authorities have essentially taken Egypt’s laws back to the bad old days," said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
"These changes are a major threat to the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and the right to strike," Luther said. "We are looking at the most serious erosion of human rights in Egypt since Mubarak stepped down."
"Not only must SCAF repeal these amendments, they need to end the state of emergency altogether, as they promised upon taking power in February," Luther said.
"We are urging the Egyptian authorities to respect the rights of demonstrators to protest peacefully tomorrow," Luther said.
"We fear that the security forces will interpret these amendments as a sign that they have been ‘let off the leash’," he said. –Additional reporting by AFP