Egypt’s presidential spokesman Ehab Badawy revealed in a press conference on Sunday the contents of the cabinet’s protest bill, which was signed into law by Interim President Adly Mansour earlier in the day .
The law consists of 25 articles, which outline in detail the conditions that must be met before a protest, political meeting or march is held. It also details the punishment for violations of the law.
Below is Badawy’s summary of the articles included in the new protest law. The full text will published in Egypt’s Official Newspaper on Monday.
Chapter one: General rules and definitions
Article 1: Citizens have the right to hold and join general meetings, marches and peaceful protests in accordance with the provisions and regulations of the protest law.
Article 2: Definition of general meetings and electoral meetings.
Article 3: Definition of marches.
Article 4: Definition of protests.
Article 5: Prohibits any political gathering in houses of worship, their vicinities or buildings associated with them, in addition to barring houses of worship from serving as meeting points for marches.
Article 6: Participants in protests, meetings or marches are prohibited from carrying any weapons, explosives, fireworks or other items that may put individuals, buildings or possessions in danger.
Wearing masks to hide the face during such actions is prohibited.
Article 7: Violations of general security, public order, or production are prohibited, as well as calling for disrupting public interests. It also forbids actions which could impact on public services, transportation or the flow of traffic, as well as assaults on security forces or exposure of danger to individuals, public or private possessions.
Article 11: Security forces in official uniform should disperse protests, meetings or marches in the event of a crime at the order of the field commander.
The field police commander can ask a judge to determine the non-peaceful state of a meeting or protest. A decision should be issued immediately.
Article 12: Security forces must utilise methods of gradual dispersal for protests in breach of the law.
Authorities must first ask participants to voluntarily leave through audible verbal warnings, which should be repeated several times whilst indicating and providing secure paths out of the venue of assembly.
If participants refuse to leave, security forces have the right to use water cannons, batons, and teargas to disperse protesters.
Article 13: In the case of security forces failing to disperse gatherings through afore mentioned measurements, or if violent assaults erupt against security forces, escalatory measures may be taken.
In this case, security forces should first fire warning shots, then escalate by using rubber bullets and finally metal pellets.
If participants use weapons, security forces should respond using means proportional to the danger imposed.
Article 14: The Minister of Interior, in coordination with the concerned governor, should designate a safe space for protesters in front of vital institutions for participants.
Such institutes include government, military, and security buildings, as well as courts, prosecution centres and museums.
Article 15: Protests in certain spacious venues will be allowed to take place without prior notification. Such spaces will be defined by the governor.
Chapter two: Punishments
Article 16: The following states the punishments in the case that earlier articles are violated.
Article 17: Whoever possesses weapons or explosives while participating in a protest, meeting or march could face imprisonment of seven years and pay a fine of between LE100,000 and LE300,000.
Article 18: A participant who it has been proven has received or given money and/or benefits to protests, meetings or marches is to face prison and a fine of between LE100,000 and LE200,000. The same punishment will be imposed on whoever is responsible for inciting such a crime.
Article 19: A participant who violates article 7 in the protest law could face 2 to 5 years of imprisonment, in addition to the possibility of paying a fine of between LE50,000 and LE100,000.
Article 20: Violating articles 5 and 14 or wearing masks while committing a crime during a protest could lead to a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a fine worth LE100,000.
Article 21: Holding a protest, meeting or march without giving prior notification as dictated by article 8 could result in a fine of between LE10,000 and LE30,0000.
Article 22: For any of the listed crimes, the courts can order the confiscation of tools or money used during protests or marches. However, this article excludes those who act with good intentions.
Chapter three: Procedural provisions
Article 23: Law 14, issued in 1923, is to be annulled, in addition to the cancellation of any laws that contradict the new protest law.
Article 24: The cabinet is to issue decisions regarding the implementation of the provisions of the protest law.
Article 25: This law is to be published in the official Gazette, and will be in effect the day after publication.