The Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) has criticised the controversial Protest Law and called on politicians to repeal the law.
“The [ESDP] also confirms its refusal of all measures taken to pursue, arrest or imprison the activists who continue to defend the right of peaceful demonstration and the freedom of expression, as guaranteed by the Constitution,” said the ESDP in a Sunday statement.
“We also call on all the political and civil forces to appeal against the unconstitutionality of the law and show its incompatibility with the right of peaceful demonstration…”
The much maligned Protest Law, officially known as the Law to Regulate the Right to Public Meetings, Rallies and Peaceful Protests, was adopted in late November, and regulates how public demonstrations can take place.
The law requires protesters to receive approval from the police station nearest to the intended location of the protest, and prohibits demonstrations originating at places of worship.
The law states that security forces must first use verbal warnings to try and disperse potential protests. Warnings, however, may be escalated to include the use of water cannons, batons, teargas, warning shots, rubber bullets, and birdshot. If the protesters are armed, “security forces should respond using means proportional to the danger imposed”.
Groups both domestic and international have called on Egypt to end the Protest Law. The United States urged Egyptian authorities to “respect individual rights”, while United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the government to “amend or repeal this seriously-flawed new law”.
Renowned blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah and 24 other defendants were recently convicted of violating the Protest Law, alongside other charges including “thuggery”, acquiring weapons during a protest, illegal assembly, blocking roads and attacking a police officer and stealing his radio.
They each received 25 years in prison and a fine of EGP 100,000.