Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour signed a law Sunday restricting public protests by requiring prior police notification, which opponents took as a crackdown on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Meanwhile, Mansour’s administration insisted that the measure is intended to safeguard the rights of protesters. Several protests taking place around the country that day underscored the ongoing turmoil in Egypt after the ousting of former President Mohammed Morsi.

More details about the law, composed of 25 articles specifying protest guidelines, are available here.

The BBC reported about the reception and justification of the new law later Sunday:

Human rights groups in Egypt rejected the draft law before it was enacted by interim President Mansour.

“The draft law seeks to criminalise all forms of peaceful assembly, including demonstrations and public meetings, and gives the state free hand to disperse peaceful gatherings by use of force,” 19 Egyptian organisations said in a statement.

But Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi, speaking to the AFP news agency, said the new law was designed to protect “the right of protesters” and required them to give “notice” rather than seek permission.

Government sources were quoted as saying the legislation had been watered down to require three rather than seven days’ notice.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson.

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