Target: Prime Minister Adly Mansour
Goal: Repeal bill that bans protests and allows police to use force to disperse protesters
A draft law, if passed, could soon ban protests in Egypt and give police the power to disperse a protest by force if one protester throws a rock. This law undermines the people’s right to assembly and should be immediately repealed.
The proposed legislation would ban all protests near official buildings, and allow police to ban any protests without discretion. Additionally, it requires protesters to notify the police about a demonstration if there are more than 10 people participating. It also means that if a political party or any other group needed to hold a meeting in the privacy of their office, they would have to notify the police. This law severely limits freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, and doesn’t allow political parties to express their opinions. If this legislation is passed, Egypt will be failing to respect freedom of assembly under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
After some aggressive backlash from activists in various countries, the Prime Minister stated that the government is open to amending the proposed law, but he doesn’t want freedom of assembly to inhibit the police because the “police today enjoy more popular respect than any other time previously.” This logic is flawed; popularity should not give the police access to harm the people or disperse protests. While there have been revisions to the legislation that limit the ways police could disperse a group of protesters, the police could use lethal force for self defense. Because Egyptian law is so broad on the topic of protecting one’s self, it could be easily abused.
Urge the interim president to stop this law and give the Egyptian people full access to their rights.
Dear President Adly Mansour,
The draft law that enables the police to disperse protests and requires your people to notify authorities should a gathering occur, is in violation of your people’s rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. The police should have no right to use force if the protesters are peacefully demonstrating. Even if one person were to throw a rock at the police, it is unfair for the police to go after the entire group.
I am imploring you to repeal it for the good of your nation. I am sure you are aware of the unpopularity of this law not just among the Egyptian people, but in other countries as well. They have spoken out strongly against this bill and want it to be gone. The right to assembly is an inherent right and should not be taken away by the police or the government.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lillian Wagdy via Wikimedia