Ahram Online reports:
The Egyptian cabinet approved yesterday a decree-law that criminalises strikes, protests, demonstrations and sit-ins that interrupt private or state owned businesses or affect the economy in any way.
The decree-law also assigns severe punishment to those who call for or incite action, with the maximum sentence one year in prison and fines of up to half a million pounds.
The new law, which still needs to be approved by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, will be in force as long as the emergency law is still in force. Egypt has been in a state of emergency since the assassination of former president Anwar Sadat in 1981.
Since former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February, Egypt has witnessed escalating nationwide labour strikes and political protests. Amongst those protesting have been university students, political activists, railway workers, doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, journalists, pensioners and the police force.
Many labourers have expressed their shock at the decree. “We really had hopes that the new government will support us and look into our demands. We expected them to say we have all of your legal demands on our desks and there is a timeline of a month or two within which they will be achieved,” said Ali Fotouh, a driver in the public transportation sector.
“I don’t understand what they mean by protests that affect the traffic and the business. This is not fair, why don’t you solve our demands so that we don’t go on strikes. This tone reminds me of the old days of Mubarak, threats and oppression used by the regime. This is no longer valid after January 25 Revolution.”
For more information, see original article.