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Egypt passes new laws restricting protests

Egypt's interim President Mansour has signed a new law that places restrictions on demonstrations in the country. The government says the law is to improve public safety, but opponents say it is too restrictive.

Reports from Egypt's state television broadcaster on Sunday said the country's interim president, Adly Mansour, signed a new law that regulates demonstrations and public gatherings.

"The decree organizes the right to hold public meetings, processions and peaceful demonstrations," the broadcaster reported.

Rights groups had encouraged Mansour to reject the law. A joint statement from 19 Egyptian organizations from Friday read, "the draft law seeks to criminalize all forms of peaceful assembly, including demonstrations and public meetings, and gives the state free hand to disperse peaceful gatherings by use of force."

As the announcement was made on state television about the law's passing, thousands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were protesting in Cairo and in other cities. They were marking 100 days since a crackdown by government forces on supporters of ousted President Mohammad Morsi left hundreds dead.

Massive demonstrations in Egypt led former dictator Hosni Mubarak to be toppled from power in 2011. Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, also faced massive protests before he was removed from powerin July.

mz/dr (AP, Reuters)