One of them, leading dissident Ahmed Maher, was charged with
protesting without permission, marking the first time anyone had
been ordered to stand trial under the provisions of a new law
criticized for stifling the right to protest.
Founder of the April 6 movement that helped ignite the 2011 uprising
against former President Hosni Mubarak, Maher was also charged with
assaulting police and "resisting the authorities".
Those charges were also made against Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel,
the two other activist dissidents ordered to stand trial, said Wael
Shibl, the prosecutor.
Another leading dissident, Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was arrested last
week, is being questioned for calling for protests in breach of the
new protest law.
The law, which was passed last month, has heightened fears about the
future of political freedoms in Egypt after the military deposed
Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July.
It has widened criticism of the army-installed government that has
run Egypt since Mursi's ouster, which triggered the bloodiest
internal conflict in Egypt's modern history.
[to top of second column]
Security forces have killed hundreds of Mursi supporters and jailed
top leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood movement, which won every
election after Mubarak's fall.
Authorities have also started cracking down on non-Islamist
political activists, deepening fears that the country has again
become a police state.
The protest law gives the Interior Ministry the right to ban any
meeting of more than 10 people in a public place. Rights groups say
it is deeply repressive.
The United States, which partially froze military aid to Egypt
pending progress on democracy and human rights, has expressed
concern over the law.
(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Michael Georgy and Elizabeth