Egypt Cracks Down on Future Protests

Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood government seems determined to prevent any recurrence of the protests that brought down the Mubarak regime.

The Muslim Brotherhood's mouthpiece, the Freedom and Justice daily paper, published some provisions of the controversial law on Monday. The first 18 articles regulate the right to protest, while the last eight are seen as restricting the right to strike.

Lawyer Malek Adly of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) says the draft law is not at all new, with many of the stipulations dating back to the British protectorate over Egypt, such as Law 14 of 1923, which criminalized anti-occupation protests.

"Most of the provisions of this draft law have been copied verbatim from Law 14. This is evident in the use of terms like 'police,' which has long been replaced by the word 'shorta,' along with other outdated terms," Adly says.

The lawyer explains that the anti-protest legislation originally formulated by British occupation forces was later adopted by Egyptian monarchs and military rulers to contain discontent.

In the years preceding the 25 January uprising, strikes and industrial action grew, and have been on the rise over the past two years.

The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) denounced the draft law in a statement, saying it proscribed "additional control mechanisms not witnessed before — even during the regime of Hosni Mubarak."