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.

The decree from Adly Mansour, announced on Saturday, increased penalties suggested by the government last year.

The presidential decree says the flag and the national anthem are symbols of the state that must be honoured.

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

Controversies over the flag and national anthem have erupted in the past as some Egyptians refused to stand for the national anthem and other critics tore up the flag in protest.

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.

Source: AP