The emergency continues

Egypt’s parliament today renewed for another two years the emergency laws in place since Sadat’s assassination in 1981, claiming they would only be used to deal with drug smuggling and terrorism. ‘The emergency law will not be used to undermine freedoms or infringe upon rights if these two threats are not involved’, said Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, although it’s certain this is another pretext for the regular renewal of the laws which has been taking place for the last 29 years. The much-hated laws are routinely used to stifle dissent in Egypt by clamping down on opposition politicians and activists through arrests, detention, and trials in the emergency military courts. They allow the Egyptian government to disperse protests and detain and torture protesters. 200 demonstrators were outside parliament today shouting anti-Mubarak slogans, surrounded by riot police, as inside the legislation that is stifling protest in Egypt was extended yet again. The ‘state of emergency’ is, according to the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, ‘the main source of human rights violations in Egypt‘.

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