Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Egypt bans public protests, gatherings and marches

A day after thousands of Egyptian's took to the streets demonstrating against President Hosni Mubarak's administration; Egypt has announced a ban on public protests. Previously, in order to stage a public protest, Egyptian's had to get a permit to do so, but the government has gone a step further and banned protests, public gatherings and marches altogether. The country's Interior Ministry has said that anyone participating in unauthorised public action will be detained and prosecuted for breaking the law.

It is estimated that four people have died after yesterday's nationwide protests, contained by the country's security forces with tear gas and violence. It has been reported that the fourth person died, after sustaining heavy injuries, in the town of Suez, where two other people were killed on Tuesday 25th January.

Egyptian security forces used gas and a water canon to herd the protesters away from Tahrir Square in Cairo. One police officer has been killed amid the violence in the country's capital. The protests spread across the country, to the eastern city of Ismailiya and the northern city of Alexandria, where protesters were reportedly chanting: "Revolution, revolution, like a volcano, against Mubarak the coward."

Despite the threat of arrest issued by the country's Interior Ministry, reports have emerged that some protesters have began gathering on the streets in anticipation of another day of protests.

The uprising, inspired by the recent events in Tunisia, took on a more aggressive tone when the crowd turned its anger toward President Mubarak calling for his resignation.

In view of these events, the White House issued a statement saying the Egyptian government had "an important opportunity to be responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people" and should therefore "pursue political, economic and social reforms that can improve their lives and help Egypt prosper". The statement added that the US is "committed to working with Egypt and the Egyptian people to advance these goals".

A number of anti-government activists called for a second day of protests, but it is yet to be seen whether or not Egyptians will respond the call.

Sources: BBC News, Xinhua, Reuters, France24, Bikya Masr

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

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