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Demonstrating is a constitutional right not a curse– Democratic Transition and Human Rights Support Center “DAAM” calls for amending the demonstration law and the release of prisoners of conscience.

Continuing a long series of repression of any attempt by Egyptian citizens to exercise their right to demonstrate, the Egyptian security forces arrested 4 syndicate journalists during their participation in a peaceful stand on the ladders of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate to show their objecting to the U.S. President’s decision to transfer the US Embassy In the occupied Palestinian territory to the occupied Jerusalem last Thursday. They were charged of joining a terrorist organization which allows prosecutors to order to detain them for 15 days for investigation. The security forces also arrested 11 people from the Al-Azhar march on Friday and 10 of them were presented to the Public Prosecution of “Kasr Nile” on Saturday on charges regarding blocking the road, demonstrating, gathering, and demonstrating force and violence. Prosecutors  ordered them to return the next day and then released them on a bail of two thousand Egyptian pounds each, in addition to one person who was charged of demonstrating by “Al-Gamaliya” prosecution, which then released on a of bail of 500 Egyptian pounds.

This comes after a long series of abuse by the current Egyptian political system, which ironically its leaders came to office through demonstrations. The first of their battles was the elimination of the right to demonstrate in all possible ways, whether those demonstrations were for political, economic or social demands or even to defend their land like what happened in “Tiran” and “Sanafir” demonstrations, and now that the Egyptians are trying to demonstrate to show their support to the brotherly people of Palestinian, no previous regime has dared to try to prevent these demonstrations until the security forces arrested demonstrators in front of the journalists’ syndicate while protesting against the American decision to transfer their embassy to occupied Jerusalem.

More than 4 years have passed since issuing the decree of former President Adly Mansour No. 107 of 2013 on organizing the right to public meetings and processions and peaceful demonstrations, which at the time was said that it was issued to face the demonstrations of supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi that were taking a violent development in that period. However, one day only after passing the law was enough for the security forces to use violence that was legalized by the law to dissolve a peaceful demonstration of a group of activists in front of the Egyptian Shura Council. The Next day, the security forces arrested the coordinator of the “ youth  of April 6 movement,” along with two famous activists:  Ahmed Maher, And Mohammed Adel based on a  fabricated case.

This violent beginning of implementing the law was also the beginning of 4 years of abuse, violence, and arbitrary arrests to suppress any attempt by citizens to exercise their constitutional right to demonstrate. This was reflected in the first anniversary of the revolution after the law was passed on 25 January 2014 which was the day that was transformed from a celebration that the Egyptian people were used to for over three years to randomly detaining any protesters anywhere in Egypt. The Interior Ministry announced the arrest of 1,097 demonstrators on that day which coincided with the disappearance of the Italian student Giulio Regeni in the following year.

Legalizing Police Violence against Citizens which was included in the Law of Demonstration which stated severe penalties against demonstrators has disabled citizens to exercise their right to demonstrate until the wave of protests against selling the islands of “Tiran” and “Sanafir” emerged and which was faced by the executive authority and security forces through a huge wave of violence that led to the arrest of hundreds of demonstrators, many of whom faced sentences of imprisonment and large fines.

DAAM Center calls on the Egyptian Parliament to take steps to amend this unfair law, which deprives citizens of one of their most important rights and to take a serious stand against the imprisonment of thousands of citizens by this notorious law.

DAAM calls on the authorities in Egypt to release the detainees that were arrested for demonstrating to support Jerusalem, as well as thousands of prisoners who were detained for participating in non-violent demonstrations.

The Center also pays tribute to the efforts of the Egyptian civil society, especially human rights institutions and centers, which are making great efforts to defend the rights of citizens, especially the “Front to defend Egyptian protesters, which has been diligent in defending every political prisoner in Egypt ever since its establishment in 2008.

[1] Case 977 for the year 2017 “Exclusive” National security (Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms facebook page)https://goo.gl/f2QUCY
[2] procceding no. 17464 of 2017 Court of Misdemeanors of Kasr El Nile from (Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms facebook page) https://goo.gl/2pSsC3
[3] Proceeding no.11439 of 2017 court of misdemeanor of “Al-Gamaliya
[4] Alwafd November 24th, 2013 https://goo.gl/DEMsqM
[5] Wikithawra (dissolving the Shura Council demonstartion November 26, 2013) https://goo.gl/tYEVyQ

[6] BBC december 3rd 2013 http://www.bbc.com/arabic/middleeast/2013/12/131203_egypt_doma_rearrest

[7] Wikithawra websitejanuary 26th, 2014 https://wikithawra.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/report25jan2014/
[8] The Egyptian Center on Land Issues Reports August 1st, 2017 http://ecesr.org/?p=775271

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