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‘Societal dialogue’ will discuss draft protest law: National Defence Council - Daily News Egypt

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‘Societal dialogue’ will discuss draft protest law: National Defence Council

Prime Minister El-Beblawi says he is " ready for dialogue”; law continues to stir negative reactions

The cabinet will receive suggestions regarding the draft Protest Law for a week of “societal dialogue”, the National Defence Council (NDC) said in a Sunday statement.

The draft law was approved by the cabinet in its meeting on 10 October.

The statement, which was issued after the council’s meeting, said the law would be issued after reviewing these suggestions.

The NDC declared that “it will respond to the demands for the return of order to the Egyptian street.”

According to the statement, the state is committed to guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of its citizens, “especially the freedom of belief and expression.”

It also affirmed that the state would preserve its citizens’ security and would not allow “any threats to social peace.” The state would take the necessary procedures to combat “terrorism” in respect to the rule of law and human rights, it said.

The NDC is headed by interim President Adly Mansour and also includes the membership of Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, Minister of Defence Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of Justice Adel Abdel Hamid, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy and Army Chief of Staff Sedky Sobhy.

El-Beblawi conveyed the same message during a pre-recorded interview with CBC satellite channel which was broadcast on Sunday night, declaring that he is ready for dialogue over the draft law and “the execution of whatever [suggestions]” it produces.

El-Beblawi said that the cabinet sent the draft, suggested by the Ministries of Interior and Justice to the national council of human rights (NCHR), prior to discussing the draft in the cabinet meeting. The prime minister added that he had received suggestions regarding the law from NCHR, most of which concerned with reduction of the sanctions imposed by the law.

The prime minister denied the claims that the cabinet meeting to discuss the draft law was “violent”, against media reports that a dispute occurred between Ibrahim and deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Cooperation Ziad Bahaa Al-Din, adding that approving the law required voting within the cabinet, a procedure El-Beblawi said is not followed unless there is a “clear division over an issue.”

El-Beblawi remarked that the draft law is currently being reviewed by State Council and will be sent back to the cabinet to be submitted to the interim president for final approval. He added that he does not think the cabinet must issue the law before the end of emergency state on 14 November.

However, the law continued to stir criticism.

In a Saturday statement, Al-Dostour Party said that while it does not reject the presence of a law organising the right to protest, the current draft was unacceptable.

The party said that protesting is a right that requires “protection not restriction.” They added that “laws that are concerned with the freedoms of Egyptians should not be discussed behind closed doors” and that “laws issued for exceptional circumstances remain even after the end of those exceptional circumstances, restricting the people’s freedoms.”

The statement went on to cite the difficulty of holding a protest at Tahrir Square, “as there is a mosque, a church and a governmental building in the area.”

It also condemned the draft law prohibiting the right to sit-ins and the possibility of the Ministry of Interior cancelling a protest prior to its start due to its own investigations.

The party announced that it would submit a report to the interim president explaining the reasons of the party’s rejection of the draft law.

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