Egypt's interim president signs law restricting protests

Egypt's interim president signedinto law on Sunday a bill that rights groups have said sharplycurbs the rights of citizens to assemble and protest peacefully.

State television reported that Adli Mansour had signed thebill, which requires protesters to receive advance permissionfrom the police before gathering.

In the nearly three years since President Hosni Mubarak wasousted in a popular uprising, Egyptians have taken to the streetregularly to air their grievances.

Rights groups had urged Mansour to reject the draftpresented to him by the cabinet installed after the armyoverthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood inJuly.

"The draft law seeks to criminalise all forms of peacefulassembly, including demonstrations and public meetings, andgives the state free hand to disperse peaceful gatherings by useof force," read a joint statement issued on Friday by 19Egyptian rights groups.

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