Egypt: government criminalizes disrespecting flag, EU meets with Islamists amidst clashes in Suez
Egyptian cabinet members approved and passed a draft law Wednesday that makes "ridiculing the Egyptian flag" a crime punishable by up to a 5,000 pound fine or six months imprisonment, according to Ahram Online. The law comes at a time when Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of the Egyptian military are battling over what songs are allowed to be played in the nation's schools. Muslim Brotherhood school administrators have been accused of playing only Brotherhood tunes and skipping the national anthem at the start of the school day. The Minister of Education banned all songs except for the national anthem earlier this week.
While Egypt's government finalized the new flag law, Muslim Brotherhood leaders met with an EU envoy in a closed meeting designed to move towards reconciliation between the interim government and the Islamist opposition, according to Al Jazeera sources. Muslim Brotherhood's Amr Dang reported that that talks focused on the political stalemate in Egypt, with the EU insisting that Egyptians must "sort out the issue themselves without foreign help."
The EU envoy is led by EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who also met with Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. The Foreign Minister's office reported that only regional issues were discussed rather than developments in Egypt particularly. Ashton is further planning to meet with interim government President Adly Mansour and Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in the three-day trip as well.
In related news, high school student, Abdullah Mohamed Attia died in clashes in Suez late Wednesday night after he was caught in the crossfire between pro and anti-Morsi factions, according to Reuters.
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