Egypt considers law that could sharply limit protests, months after coup against Morsi

The Washington Post reports: A draft law that would strictly regulate street protests in Egypt is drawing fierce criticism from rights groups and exposing fresh cracks in the broad coalition that backed the military coup against President Mohamed Morsi in July.

The legislation, drafted this month by the military-appointed interim government, grants authorities the power to cancel demonstrations or quickly escalate to the use of lethal force for vague reasons, including threats to the public order.

Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa al-Din said in a statement on his official Facebook page Monday that the cabinet would probably delay the legislation because of mounting opposition. Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said in a television interview Sunday that the government is open to considering amendments to the bill.

But if signed into law by interim President Adly Mansour, the current version would impose a blanket ban on public sit-ins and require protesters to seek advance permission from the Interior Ministry to hold a demonstration. Violators would face harsh fines and up to three years in prison. [Continue reading…]

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