Well that didn't take long, did it.
Last week’s decision by Egypt’s military rulers to criminalize the kind of protests and strikes that drove Hosni Mubarak from office makes one wonder whether that country has just experienced a democratic revolution, or a military coup that rode into power on the coattails of the popular uprising.
“We as a government believe in the right to protest as long as it does not disrupt work, cause chaos and are held through legitimate channels,” El-Gunidy said in the press conference held at the cabinet offices.
El-Guindy added that he wants to “assure” Egyptians that they still have the right to protest. He said that the ministry has noticed that chaos broke out during recent protests and strikes and that they ask the Egyptian youth to help stop some of the strikes, which are ignited by members of the old regime.
Since the law was approved by the cabinet last Wednesday, nationwide protests have broken out against a law that many believe violates the values of the January 25 Revolution. The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions has organized a march for later today from the Journalists Syndicate to the cabinet offices in protest at the law.
Political groups and activists are angry about the law which bans strikes, protests, demonstrations and sit-ins which interrupt private or state-owned businesses and carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison with fines of up to LE500, 000 to anyone who calls for or incites these actions.
Many have claimed that the law violates all the values of the January 25 revolution, in which the right to freedom of expression was one of the core demands.
Another protest is to be organised in front of the Radio and TV headquarters in Maspero, in what protesters dubbed as the ‘Friday of Cleansing.” They are demanding that all media personalities loyal to the old regime be removed. Already three were arrested this morning in front of the building.
Protesters are also showing their solidarity with students from the Faculty of Mass Communications at Cairo University, who have been protesting for two weeks demanding that Sami Abdel Aziz, dean of the faculty, steps down because of his ties to the former ruling National Democratic Party.
On Wednesday evening military police stormed the university's grounds and forcibly dispersed the protesters and arrested and beat several students.
On the Facebook page of the Revolution Youth Coalition, the group announced that this protest will be to voice their anger over “the military police storming of the Cairo University campus, cutting off the electricity from the mass communication students, the physical attacks on students, their professors and those who joined their protests, and the use of electric batons to beat them and throw them out of their own university”.
The coalition added that “the Egyptian people have sacrificed many martyrs to get rid of Mubarak’s repressive regime and they are ready to sacrifice again if their freedom is taken away from them once more.”
Protesters took to Egypt's streets in January, demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak supporters clashed with demonstrators in Tahrir Square, which became the focal point of protests in the capital, Cairo. More than 300 protesters were killed in the uprising. Although Mubarak pledged not to run again, fired his government and appointed a vice president for the first time in his three decades of rule, the protests intensified until Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that the president had handed over power to the military.
Protesters have continued to demand that the military rulers carry out reforms. On March 19, Egyptians voted in favor of constitutional changes that include limiting how long presidents can serve and determining who can run for office. However, many opposition leaders said the vote was rushed. The military government has said it will lift the country's three-decades-old state of emergency before parliamentary elections scheduled for September. Presidential elections are slated to be held by November at the latest. Bloggers and activists have called for 1 million Egyptians to gather in Tahrir Square on April 1.Wont Get Fooled Again