Thousands protested in downtown Cairo Wednesday in defiance of the recently issued Protest Law and in response to the dispersal of the No Military Trials demonstration Tuesday.
The protest started in Talaat Harb Square at 5pm and marched through downtown. At the time of print, the march was heading towards the Shura Council building where Tuesday’s clashes occurred.
A number of revolutionary forces were present, including 6 April, the Revolutionary Socialists, Revolutionary Front and a number of independent groups.
“We will never agree on the Protest Law and will continue protesting until it’s gone,” said Basma El Hosseiny, a founding member of the Revolutionary Front. “We the people don’t accept it.”
Revolutionary Front members said they had marched downtown to intentionally violate the Protest Law, which says that the locations of protests must be declared in advance.
The Revolutionary Front called for the protest in response to the forcible arrests and detention of several activists after the forcible dispersal of yesterday’s protest in front of the Shura Council.
The front’s Wednesday protest demanded the release of these detainees, the abolishment of the Protest Law, and a ban on military trials in the constitution.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior announced that a request was made for the Wednesday march by a party the ministry refused to identify. The law stipulates that a three day notice to the Ministry of Interior is required prior to any protest, and the notice will be reduced two 24 hours if the protest concerns elections. Renowned human rights advocate Hossam Bahgat issued a statement denying that any party had requested a permit.
The released protesters from Tuesday’s demonstration also announced that they had filed three complaints against the ministry of Interior
Amr Adel, one of the detainees, said that, “the three complaints are against [the detainees’] kidnapping and being dumped on the desert road, violence and beatings during the arrest and the third is a complaint against the sexual harassment experienced by the detained women.”
Tuesday’s violent dispersal of a peaceful protest generated local and international criticism of the current government. The protest marked the first day of protests to take place without the required permit demanded by the law.
The Protest Law was ratified by interim President Adly Mansour earlier this week after its draft that was suggested by the Ministry of Justice had stirred controversy in the political sphere.