03 December 2016
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    » 03/25/2011, 00.00

    EGYPT

    Law to stifle protest and demonstrations



    The goal is to stop protest against the constitutional referendum manipulated by the Muslim Brotherhood. The military junta still has to approve the decree. Many fear an agreement between extremists and the army to maintain the country’s stability at the cost of freedom and democracy.

    Cairo (AsiaNews) –  The Egyptian cabinet approved a decree that criminalises strikes, protests, demonstrations and sit-ins that interrupt private or state owned businesses or affect the economy in any way. It calls for severe punishment of those who call for or incite action, with a maximum sentence of one year in prison and fines of up to US$ 85,000. The new law still needs to be approved by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took over following Mubarak’s fall from power.

    Sources told AsiaNews that the measure is meant to stifle the voice of the people who led the Jasmine Revolution and oppose the results of the recent constitutional referendum, manipulated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

    “This law confirms the Brotherhood’s attempt to take over the Jasmine Revolution,” the source said. The army and the Islamist party have struck a deal to maintain the country’s stability and the price is the ideals of democracy and democracy that brought down Mubarak. “The danger is the rise of an Islamic dictatorship that would replace the military regime that has governed the country in the past 40 years.”

    Even economic groups that benefit from the decree have criticised it. In a statement issued today, the investment bank Beltone Financial said that the law is more likely to lead to more discontent. “The Egyptian public has only just found its political voice and will, most likely, view this decision as another attempt to silence it. We agree that there is a need for work to resume normally once again, for Egypt’s economy to begin its recovery process, but we also believe that the government’s decision to criminalise protests and strikes could provoke further discontentment and more protests.”

    Sources told AsiaNews that the writing was already on the wall. “Four days after Mubarak’s fall, some members of the Muslim Brotherhood took over the platform set up in Tahrir to celebrate victory and took away the microphone from a young leader of the revolution in order to hail the Islamic Revolution.”

    “Another factor is the lack of neutrality shown by the army during the fire that engulfed the Coptic church in Soul, destroyed by a group of Islamic extremists before the eyes of soldiers standing idly by and during the violent crackdown against the protest by Copts in suburban Cairo.”

    The backward step taken by the military and the strengthening of the Muslim Brotherhood represent a great threat not only for Christians, who have seen a rise in cases of discrimination, but also for all those moderate Muslims opposed to a clerical regime.

    “What is happening in Egypt is not a confrontation between Christians and Muslims but a struggle between traditionalists and obscurantists against liberals and modernists. This cleavage also exists within the Coptic community, between the hierarchy that tends to be conciliatory with those in power and young people who desire change and reject the prevailing line.”

    The possibility that the Muslim Brotherhood might take power scares Copts around the world, who fear greater violence and discrimination.

    In a letter to US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, American Copts described the current situation as a risk for the West. “The Muslim Brotherhood,” it said, “is not only a threat to the stability of Egypt, the Middle East and Israel, but constitutes a direct threat to the United States and Western civilisation”. (S.C.)

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    See also

    24/11/2011 EGYPT
    Neither the military nor extremists in the new Egypt, says young Copt
    Nagui Damiam talks about the renewed unity among Egyptians demonstrating in Tahrir Square. The Muslim Brotherhood is strong and well organised, but it is far from what young people want. A victory by extremists against the military would trigger a civil war with moderate forces. A Christian exodus has already started.

    25/01/2012 EGYPT
    Tahrir Square flooded by people who want to continue the Jasmine Revolution
    Nagui Diamian, a young Catholic Coptic leader, talks about the youth protest a year since the demonstrations that led to the fall of President Mubarak. Thousands have arrived from all over Egypt to demand real change for the country, which is still in the hands of the military. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists try to monopolise the situation following their electoral victory.

    21/08/2013 EGYPT
    Young Muslim: We can only rebuild Egypt together with Christians
    Mohamed Elhariry, a young businessman in Cairo, reveals the on the ground reality of life in recent months in Egypt. The young man says the Muslim Brotherhood "have lied to everyone, they never wanted a democratic state. The real Egypt is multi-denominational".

    26/10/2011 EGYPT
    After the Arab spring, is Egypt heading for a rigid winter?
    The country is the scene of daily demonstrations, economic uncertainty and political chaos. The massacre of Copts, Gaddafi’s demise and the rise of Muslim fundamentalists, who could get half the seats in the next parliament, are factors of instability and concern in a country on a path towards democracy.

    21/03/2011 EGYPT
    Vote rigging and religious manipulation allows ‘Yes’ to win in constitutional referendum
    About 77 per cent of voters say yes to changes. The outcome has disappointed many of those who took part in the revolution. They were hoping for a more radical transformation of the constitution. Sharia remains the principal source for Egyptian law. Speaking to AsiaNews, source slams manipulation by Muslim Brotherhood.



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