Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 August 2019

Ten on Egypt’s constitution panel halt work over arrests

Ten members of a panel drafting Egypt's new constitution suspend work after authorities arrest demonstrators protesting against new anti-protest laws.

CAIRO // Ten members of a panel drafting Egypt’s new constitution suspended work on Tuesday after authorities arrested several protesters including a few prominent activists, a committee member said.

Hoda El Sadda, a senior member of the panel, said she and nine others have “suspended work after the arrest of protesters”.

Egyptian police arrested around 30 protesters among dozens who were demonstrating in Cairo against an article in the revised basic law that allows the military to try civilians in certain cases, a security official said.

Police arrested the protesters because the demonstration was not authorised, officials said, referring to a controversial new protest law enacted over the weekend which requires protest organisers to give three days’ written notice to authorities.

The protesters were demonstrating in front of the Shoura Council, where the constitution panel sits, when police used water cannons to disperse them and later made arrests.

Among those arrested were Mona Seif, founder of a campaign against military trials of civilians, and Ahmad Harara, a dentist who lost his eyes to birdshot during protests against ousted president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and against the military junta that ruled Egypt immediately after Mr Mubarak’s fall.

A referendum on Egypt’s amended constitution – an important step towards elections – would be held before the end of the year, the spokesman of the constituent assembly said.

“The referendum will be held before the end of (December),” Mohamed Salmawy said.

However, Mr Salmawy contradicted comments made by Prime Minister Hazem El Beblawi who said on Sunday the referendum would be held in the second half of January.

Agence France-Presse and Reuters

Updated: November 26, 2013 04:00 AM