CAIRO: Last Sunday, Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif asked parliament to extend the highly controversial Emergency Law for another two years. For approval, it needs two thirds of parliament to back it and, with the National Democratic Party providing more than enough candidates, it was soon passed.
The extension was expected in spite of the campaign initiated by 114 parliament members under the name of Parliament Members Against Emergency and the clear public outcry against the state of emergency.
The Daily Star Egypt took to the streets to find out how the public is reacting to the extension.
The extension of the Emergency Law is no surprise. All of the incidents that happened in the last two weeks were just to pave the way for the law. I can t see any advantage in that law; in fact, all I see is that after 25 years of emergency, there is still terrorism and it didn t help in solving the problem at all.
Rasha, sales woman
Did they extend it? I actually didn’t know. I am not interested in politics but I can t trust the government. Life has become unbelievably expensive. May God give us patience.Mansour, carpenter
I think that even the Alexandria incident (sectarian violence) was intended to give an excuse in order to extend that law; the same with the Dahab bombings. They found out who did it in less than a week, so I believe that it is not reasonable to think that they didn t know them from the start. For a long time, I did not care about the Emergency Law and couldn’t distinguish it from regular laws. But over the last few years, with the political shows on satellite channels, I knew that I should refuse anything that limits my personal freedom.Hani, student
I have lived in the era of Nasser, Sadat and [now] Mubarak, and there is no big difference between the emergency state and the regular one. In the time of Nasser and Sadat, there was no Emergency Law but they also arrested many people with no clear charges. Life is life and authority is authority.Amal, housewife
There will not be any difference between the Emergency Law and the terrorism law they are intending to replace it with. It is similar to when they said they will reform article 76 of the Egyptian constitution (regarding presidential elections) and they made that reform to their benefit in the end. Abdoul-Hameed, lawyer
I could have commented before the extension of that law. But now all I can say is that it is a very good law and long live president Mubarak. Mohammad, air conditioning technician
I don t actually know the real benefit of the Emergency Law, but everything happening in the country now is taking place to pave the way for Gamal Mubarak to take his father’s place. Just imagine this scenario: Gamal Mubarak promises that what he’ll do if he becomes president is to cancel the Emergency Law and fight for freedom and democracy. Won’t that give him a point over many people and make Egyptians prefer him?Tharwat, engineer