The Egyptian government on Wednesday passed a law criminalizing protests and strikes. Under the new law, anyone organizing or calling for a protest will be sentenced to jail and/or a fine of LE500,000.
The new law will be enforced as long as the current Emergency Law is in place, said the cabinet in a statement on Wednesday. The Emergency Law has been in force since 1981 following the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat.
The new law will apply to anyone inciting, urging, promoting or participating in a protest or strike that hampers or delays work at any private or public establishments.
Since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February, Egypt has witnessed nationwide labor strikes and political protests. Among those protesting have been university students, political activists, railway workers, doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, journalists, pensioners, and the police force.