Women protest de­ten­tions at Egyp­tian pres­i­den­tial palace

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Dozens of women held a vigil Sun­day out­side Egypt’s pres­i­den­tial palace, chal­leng­ing a law that re­stricts protests and call­ing for the re­lease of thou­sands of pris­on­ers de­tained for vi­o­lat­ing the con­tro­ver­sial mea­sure.

Or­ga­niz­ers said they didn’t seek prior per­mis­sion from author­i­ties to stage the vigil near the palace of Pres­i­dent Ab­del-Fat­tah el-Sissi.

Po­lice formed a cordon around the women, who raised photos of de­tainees. Some protesters raised ban­ners that read: “Ramadan is not the same with­out you,” in ref­er­ence to the Mus­lim holy month of fast­ing that brings fam­i­lies to­gether.

The protest law, in place since 2013, crim­i­nal­izes any gath­er­ing of more than five peo­ple with­out prior po­lice per­mis­sion and im­poses hefty fines and prison sen­tences on vi­o­la­tors. Author­i­ties say the law is nec­es­sary to end the chaos that plagued Egypt since its 2011 re­volt.

Ac­tivists say the law is used to muz­zle crit­ics. Thou­sands of peo­ple have been de­tained over the law, with some sen­tenced to as many as 15 years for protest­ing and al­legedly us­ing vi­o­lence.

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