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Mixed rulings for protest law by Egypt constitutional court


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CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's Constitutional Court has issued mixed rulings on the constitutionality of a protest law, which rights groups have decried as repressive.

Local lawyers had contested four separate articles in the law. The court on Saturday ruled that an article giving the interior minster the right to ban protests was unconstitutional.

However the court ruled in favor of the other three articles, including one that criminalizes any gathering that threatens "public order."

Rights lawyer Tarek Khater said he was "shocked" by the ruling and that striking down one article was meaningless as long as authorities could still arrest protesters on such "vague terms."

Enacted after the 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, the law was initially used to prevent mass demonstrations by Morsi supporters but is now broadly applied.

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