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Egypt president approves contentious protest law

CAIRO: Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour approved a controversial law Sunday regulating demonstrations which rights groups have slammed as “repressive.”
“The president enacted the law on the regulation of the right to hold public meetings, processions and peaceful demonstrations in public places,” presidency spokesman Ehab Badawi said in a statement.
Prime minister Hazem Beblawi told AFP that the new law protects the rights of protesters. “It is not a law that limits the right to demonstrate, but it aims at protecting the right of protesters,” he said.
Beblawi also said the law does not stipulate that protesters need permission before staging demonstrations, but they must give advance “notice.”
A government source who asked not to be identified said that changes had been made to an earlier draft bill that was strongly criticized by rights groups. “It allows (protest) organizers to inform the authorities three days before the event, rather than the earlier seven days,” the source said.
Other details of the law were still unknown, but Egyptian rights groups had earlier slammed the draft prepared by the justice ministry last month.