Egypt's president signed a new bill into law on Sunday (November 24) restricting rallies and other public gatherings, in a move likely to raise fresh questions about the army-backed government's democratic credentials.

Thousands of anti-government protesters were on the streets of Cairo and other cities when the new bill was announced on state media, as they have been regularly in the nearly three years since autocrat Hosni Mubarak was ousted.

Supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted by the Egyptian military in July in what some describe as a 'coup', said they had been expecting such a move from the interim government.

The new legislation will require protesters to get advance permission from the police before gathering in the future, according to a draft seen by Reuters.

Human rights groups had urged interim president Adli Mansour to reject the draft presented to him by the cabinet installed after the army overthrew Morsi.

They said the law was a dangerous move, particularly ahead of elections, saying it could disrupt public meetings including debates and rallies.

But others said they had had enough of protests, which have been a regular feature of daily life in Egypt since the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak nearly three years ago.

President Adli Mansour's approval of the law came as a 50-member committee prepared to vote on an amended constitution that will be put to a referendum expected in coming months.

Parliamentary and presidential elections are due next year.

Presented by Adam Justice

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