Egyptians protest return of emergency laws

September 17th, 2011 - 10:49 pm ICT by BNO News  

CAIRO (BNO NEWS) — Egyptians on Friday gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest against military trials and the reactivation of emergency laws by military rulers, local media reported on Saturday.

Protesters held a rally against emergency laws and military trials following Friday prayers and carried banners against the Ministry of Interior and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The families of those detained during clashes at the Israeli Embassy last Friday were among those protesting, the Al-Ahram state-owned newspaper reported.

Earlier this week, SCAF declared the activation of Mubarak-era emergency laws after a weekend of violent clashes between protesters and police at the Israeli embassy. SCAF will now use emergency laws to prosecute new crimes such as ‘infringing on others’ right to work’, ‘impeding the flow of traffic’, and ’spreading false information in the media’.

SCAF, which has ruled Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted earlier this year, had promised to end the emergency laws. Instead, SCAF has even extended until May 2012 the duration of these laws, which were set to expire late this year.

Mubarak used these laws against common criminals and political opponents alike. However, the Egyptian cabinet and the ruling military council have assured activists that these laws will only target common criminal activities and will not be applied against political activists.

The Revolutionary Youth Union, one of the main youth groups born out of the January 25 Revolution, is demanding the ruling military council to scrap these laws all together. It has also asked SCAF to set a timetable to hand power to a civilian administration after spending eight months in power, according to the newspaper.

Three Egyptian civilians were killed and 1,049 were injured after fierce clashes at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo last Friday between police forces and Egyptian protesters. Egypt’s military police had arrested 111 protesters by Sunday.

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