MENA also says the prosecutor issued arrest warrants for two
leading activists accused of inciting demonstrators to organize the
protest. He also released more than 10 female protesters, who were
dropped off stranded in the desert in the middle of the night.
Activists put the number of female protesters released at 14.
The detained activists were accused of violating the new protest law
by not obtaining a permit from the Interior Ministry, by using force
and by carrying knives and resisting authorities, MENA said.
Activists Alaa Abdel-Fatah and Ahmed Maher were ordered arrested for
"inciting protesters to violate the law." MENA said.
Youth groups renewed calls for protests on Wednesday to press for
the detainees' release and push the government to abolish the law.
On Tuesday, security forces used water cannons to break up the
demonstration outside Cairo's upper house of parliament, where
protesters denounced a proposed constitutional amendment allowing
military courts to try civilians.
Footage from the scene showed police beating up protesters and
tearing their clothes while dragging others by the hair. The images,
reminiscent of the days of Egypt's longtime autocrat President Hosni
Mubarak, went viral on social networking sites and sparked a wave of
anger against interim authorities. Activists said that female
protesters were sexually assaulted.
Some supporters of the new
military-backed government also criticized authorities, warning that
the new law will increase opposition and could push secular
activists into a common cause with Islamists.
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They also warned against turning pro-democracy activists into
enemies of the military-backed government, which took power after a
popularly backed military coup against Islamist President Mohammed
Morsi last summer.
The government says the protest law is needed to restore security
and rein in near daily protests by Morsi supporters demanding his
reinstatement. The Islamist rallies have often deteriorated into
bloody clashes with security forces, leaving hundreds dead.
The government's message has a strong resonance among a public
weary of constant protests and unrest since Egypt's 2011 revolt.
Morsi's supporters issued a statement denouncing what they
described as "brutal repression."
The Muslim Brotherhood-led alliance spokesman Diaa al-Sawi said
Wednesday that the "youth of the revolution stand united and
steadfast against tyranny and aggression," adding that he will
contact youth to coordinate rallies.
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