Protests in downtown Cairo against protest law

The Interior Ministry announced on its official Facebook page today that it authorized a protest in downtown Cairo’s Talaat Harb Square against the controversial new protest law. 

Road of the Revolution and the April 6 Youth Movement, who called for protests today against the law and the detention yesterday of over 50 activists protesting military trials, denied having submitted any requests to the ministry.

However Salah Gaber, whose son was killed in confrontations with police in November 2011, told privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm that he had submitted a protest request. Gaber said that even though he is not participating in the protest he submitted the request to protect the young people who will be there from arrests. 

According to the ministry, the request was for authorization to protest against the protest law and to demand the release of protesters arrested on Tuesday for failing to abide by the new law’s stipulations. The protest is scheduled to start at 4pm and last until 10pm, according to the statement, which did not mention who was behind the request. 

The Road of the Revolution group released a statement denying having notified the Ministry of Interior of their protest, scheduled to take place today at 5 in Talaat Harb Square against the protest law. The group said that it would be impossible to get authorization in time, as the law requires that requests are submitted three days ahead of a protest. 

April 6, also organizing a protest today in Talaat Harb, denied applying for authorization as well.

“The movement clearly rejects this law. How come it will submit a request according to it for a protest demanding its cancellation?” April 6 wrote in a statement. 

An afternoon protest organized by the “Thowar” (Revolutionary) Front involved hundreds, who marched around downtown from Talaat Harb Square to the corniche, then to the Shura Council.

The group said on Facebook earlier today that it would not allow banners in support of either ousted President Mohamed Morsi or Amred Forces head General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“We need to make it clear that we are against all violations against all Egyptians and we demand the accountability against all who did any crimes against any Egyptian,” the statement read. 

April 6 also said that the ministry’s statement, ironically, delegitimizes the law by approving a request for a protest that couldn’t have been submitted before yesterday, even though the law requires a minimum of three days’ notice. 

“The protest law has already fallen on the ground and the movement is convinced that it will fall officially. And if the government continues to fight for it, it will fall alongside it,” April 6 said. 

In the first implementation of the law, protesters were arrested on Tuesday while protesting in front of the Shura Council without the required authorization. Twenty-four male protesters remain in custody. 

According to the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, in Minya, Assiut and Aswan nine more activists were arrested on Tuesday on charges of protesting without notifying the authorities.

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