` Egyptian Activists March Scheduled on April 26 to Repeal Controversial Protest Law '

#AceNewsServices – CAIRO – April 25 – Egyptian activists held a press conference on Thursday in
front of the presidential palace in Cairo to announce an escalation in their demands for the country’s controversial protest law to be repealed, Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website reported.

Those participating in the conference included the April 6 movement, the Revolutionary Socialists and the Egyptian Popular Current, in addition to Nourhan Hefzy, wife of prominent activist Ahmed Douma, who was recently sentenced to three years in jail for breaking the protest law.

The groups announced a march on Saturday, 26 April, beginning at 5pm in front of Saraya Al-Kubba and continuing until the Ittihadiya presidential palace.

Mohamed Youssef, a member of April 6’s Democratic Front, called on interim President Adly Mansour to use his legislative powers to repeal the protest law.

Youssef also said that revolutionary movements will mobilise in many other governorates on Saturday.

On Tuesday, a group of female activists began a sit-in outside the presidential place as part of a series of events calling for the law’s cancellation. Those at the conference on Thursday said that the sit-in would be halted until 26 April, the date of the march.

The text accompanying the link to sign the petition says: “The freedom to demonstrate is one of the gains of the 25 January Revolution”, describing it as “one of the cornerstones of democracy”.

The group outlines six reasons for its objection to the current law, which include their belief that the law contradicts international human rights conventions that Egypt is party to. They point out that similar laws around the world “do not seek to eliminate protests or limit it as a fundamental right”.

The movement also stresses that “the Egyptian security forces are not qualified to handle democratic protests” and has called for the restructuring of the Egyptian police force.

Co-founder and former general coordinator of the 6 April Youth Movement, Ahmed Maher, along with fellow co-founder and political bureau member, Mohamed Adel, were both sentenced to three years in prison in December, alongside prominent activist Ahmed Douma.

The trio were found guilty of protesting without the Ministry of Interior’s approval, amongst other charges. Activist and blogger Alaa Abdel-Fattah received a one-year sentence with hard labour in January for endorsing a protest opposing military trials for civilians.

Three prominent activists of the January 2011 revolution – Ahmed Douma, Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel – all received three-year sentences and LE50,000 fines for breaking the protest law in December 2013.

Another prominent activist, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, is being tried on the same charges.

Thousands of others, mainly supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, have been arrested during demonstrations thanks to the law, which bans all protests not pre-approved by authorities.

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