Al Jazeera reports: After much pulling and tugging between Egypt’s military-backed government and the Muslim Brotherhood, the state has adopted a highly controversial “anti-terrorism” law that effectively freezes any legal activity from the country’s largest opposition group.
The law, which criminalises any kind of participation linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, intensifies Egypt’s political polarisation. The legislation comes ahead of a nationwide referendum on the country’s constitution set for January 5.
The bill was passed after a bomb blast killed 16 people on December 24 in the Nile Delta city of Al Mansoura. Although the law does not include Ansar Bayt al-Makdis, the an al-Qaeda-linked group who claimed responsibility for the attack, legislation does target the Muslim Brotherhood who condemned the assault and whose supporters have been staging daily peaceful protests since the army-led overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi on July 3.
Despite previous government pledges not to shun any faction from the political scene, the law bolts the lock on the return of a party that has won every vote since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Human Rights Watch has said the law banning the Brotherhood is “politically driven”.
Anti-coup protesters, mostly sympathisers of the Muslim Brotherhood, remain determined to stay on the streets, even if it means risking arrest. [Continue reading…]