Dozens held as Egypt police disperse demos

December 07, 2013 - 6:45:38 am
CAIRO: Egyptian police arrested dozens of Islamist protesters yesterday when they dispersed rallies across the country, the interior ministry said.

Riot police fired tear gas at separate protests in Cairo and clashed with Islamists in other provinces, amid a campaign to stamp out unrest following president Mohammed Mursi’s overthrow in July.

Police have shown little tolerance for the Islamists’ rallies since Morsi’s removal, and a new law allows them to clamp down hard on all but interior ministry-sanctioned demonstrations.

Thirty protesters were arrested in Cairo and 43 “rioters” were held in seven other provinces, a ministry statement said.

Battered by a crackdown that has killed more than 1,000 people and seen thousands more jailed, the Islamists still organise almost daily protests to demand Mursi’s reinstatement.

Mursi, overthrown by the military following massive rallies demanding his resignation, is on trial on charges related to the deaths of opposition protesters during his single year in power.

Some who campaigned for his ouster now condemn the police for what they call their unchecked brutality, following arrests by secular activists who violated the new protest law brought in late last month.

Demonstrations at places of worship, or starting from them, are now banned outright. 

The new law also requires the organisers of any demonstration to seek authorisation three days in advance.

Permission can be denied if the protest is deemed to present a threat to national security.

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