Egypt orders arrest of 2 leading activists
27 November 2013, 21:12
Cairo - An
Egyptian prosecutor has ordered the arrest of two prominent activists for
inciting protests, a source in the prosecutor's office said on Wednesday,
including one whose group helped lead the revolt that ousted Hosni Mubarak in
of Ahmed Maher, head of the April 6 youth movement, and activist Alaa Abdel
Fattah were ordered after they took part in demonstrations outside parliament
on Tuesday that defied a new law that restricts protests.
other activists were detained on Tuesday for four days pending investigation of
allegations of thuggery, attacking public employees, stealing wireless devices
and protesting without permission from the Interior Ministry, said the source.
The new law,
passed by the army-backed government on Sunday, has angered some Egyptians and
drawn fire from human rights groups who describe it as a major blow to freedom
in the most populous Arab country.
experienced some of its worst civilian violence in decades after the army,
prompted by mass protests, ousted the country's first democratically elected
leader, Mohammed Morsi, on 3 July. It has since introduced a political roadmap
meant to lead to new elections next year.
activists, who backed Morsi’s overthrow, are now becoming more vocal against
the military, which has backed a security crackdown against Islamists.
have been killed and over 2 000 arrested, including Morsi and the leadership of
his Muslim Brotherhood group, which won every election since Mubarak's
activists have called for new demonstrations in central Cairo on Wednesday to
focus attention on the law.
government has said it is not opposed to peaceful protests and it wants to
restore order in Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel and is home to the
The law will
further squeeze the Brotherhood, which hoped mass protests would reverse what
it calls a military coup.
restrictions have triggered a public debate in Egypt, where demonstrations
brought down Mubarak and encouraged army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to
law is bad and the minister of interior has done enough and should
change," said an engineer on a call to state radio.
penal law had many articles that they [the authorities] could have used to ban
violent protests but instead they issued a new law that only brought us more
protests and tension, a very stupid call."
person to dial in, a police officer, said: "What do people want? We either
implement the law or not."