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Egypt Minister Defends Law Requiring Police Approval for Protest

Egyptian authorities defended a new law that made it illegal to hold demonstrations without the approval of the police, as rights groups attacked the measure.

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said the law, signed by interim president Adly Mansour yesterday, “doesn’t diminish citizens’ rights to peaceful expression of opinion,” the ministry said in e-mailed statement today.

Egypt’s authorities are seeking to stifle daily protests by Islamist supporters of former President Mohamed Mursi, whose overthrow by the army in July was followed by a crackdown in which hundreds of his Islamist supporters were killed. A three-month state of emergency, which granted security forces special powers, ended earlier this month.

The bill requires at least three days of notice for protests, and gives security forces the right to bar them as a threat to public safety. It also bans political gatherings in mosques, which are regular meeting places for the protesters.

Human rights groups and activists said the law aims to stifle opposition and will allow repressive police practices and abuses. Members of the Lawyers Syndicate have threatened to take to the streets if Mansour doesn’t withdraw the measure within 48 hours.

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