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Nov 24, 2013 5:48 PM by Jennifer Horbelt

New Egyptian law restricts public gatherings

CAIRO (AP) - Egypt's interim president has banned public gatherings of more than 10 people without prior government approval, imposing hefty fines and prison terms for violators.

The law published today is more restrictive than regulations used under the rule of Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown in 2011. Rights groups and activists immediately denounced it.

The law requires three-day prior notice for protests. It grants security agencies the right to bar any protests or public gatherings, including election-related meetings of political parties, if they deem it a threat to public safety or order. Protesters can appeal the decision, but the law doesn't force judges to rule ahead of scheduled protests.

The new law also bars gatherings in places of worship, a frequent practice of Islamist groups.

And it says the police have the right - following warnings - to use force gradually, including the use of water cannons, tear gas and clubs.

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