Egypt's Gov't Bans Protests Without Police Approval

Egypt's interim president on Sunday passed a law banning demonstrations without prior approval of the police, Reuters reported. The bill signed into law by President Adli Mansour requires people to secure police permission for protests at least three days in advance, said presidential spokesman Ehab Badawi. It allows security forces to disperse illegal protests with water cannons, tear gas and birdshot. The law also bans protests in places of worship, a move rights groups condemned as a blow to political freedom. As it was being announced by state media, thousands of anti-government protesters were on streets in Cairo and other cities, as they have been regularly in the nearly three years since the revolution that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The law came as a 50-member committee prepared to vote on an amended constitution that will be put to a referendum expected in coming months. Parliamentary and presidential elections are due next year.

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