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Dishonouring flag criminalised

Published:Sunday | June 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Egyptian women chant slogans and wave national flags during a rally in Tahrir Square, in Cairo. - File

CAIRO (AP):

Egypt's outgoing interim president has issued a decree making dishonouring the Egyptian flag or not standing for the national anthem a criminal offence, punishable by sentences of up to one year in prison and a fine of more than $4,000.

Presidential spokesman Ihab Badawi told reporters the decree states that the national anthem and flag are "symbols of the state that must be respected and treated with veneration".

Egypt is witnessing a rising wave of nationalist fervour following the July military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi after mass protests against him.

The decree increased previously suggested penalties from late last year, which were set at a maximum six months in prison and over $700 in fines. The decree also bans raising the flag if it was torn, its colour faded, or with distorted design.

The flag, prominent during most of Egypt's recent protests, saw protesters tear it while some raised factional flags instead. After Mubarak's fall, some also discussed changing the flag.