Demonstrators gathered in Downtown Cairo’s Talaat Harb Square on Saturday evening to rally against the proposed law restricting political protests.
Around 100 people amassed in the square at 5pm carrying signs with pictures of activists who have been killed and chanting slogans against interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi and the interior ministry.
The protest grew in number to around 500 people as it marched east down Qasr Al-Nil Street. Protestors voiced slogans demanding “bread, freedom, and social justice” — widely used during the 25 January Revolution.
A group of a few dozen remained in Talaat Harb Square and held a candlelight vigil where they protested against toppled president Mohamed Morsi, and his political group, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Widely criticised by political parties and rights groups, a draft of the 21-article law was approved by the cabinet on 10 October. The law states that citizens have the right to organise and join meetings, parades and demonstrations under certain conditions. The law defined parades as demonstrations with non-political goals.
The proposed law bans using places of worship as gathering points for protests, and demonstrators are also banned from possessing weapons, ammunition, fireworks and face-covering masks.
According to the proposed law, protest organisers must seek permission from the police station responsible for the intended site of protest 24 hours in advance. Such permission should include the location and the pathway of the protest, start and end time, the issue which the protest is concerned with, its demands and the organisers’ names.
Photos by Aaron T. Rose