CAIRO — Egyptian security forces rounded up at least 28 activists Tuesday and dispersed protests with beatings, water cannons and tear gas in the first enforcement of a new law that limits public demonstrations.
The aggressive application of the law just two days after it was decreed by interim President Adly Mansour was a sign that the government intends to suppress any criticism.
Unlike the harsh crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood that has cost hundreds of lives since the military ousted President Mohammed Morsi in July, police on Tuesday targeted many of the country's best known secular and liberal dissidents. Many of them had helped spur the demonstrations that ended the rule of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Under the new law, organizers must apply to police for permission at least three days before holding any protest, march or public meeting. Public gatherings of more than 10 people without prior government approval are prohibited. Violators who gather without police permission face jail sentences and fines.