There is rising anger in Egypt as the interim government continues its crackdown on protesters. The country may be on the verge of a new chapter in its post-Mubarak protest movement.

This current Egyptian government is using the same tactics used in the past whether it's under the rule of Mohamed Morsi or the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces or Hosni Mubarak.

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International

In cities across the country, Egyptians took to the streets after Friday prayers in defiance of a new law that bans protests that have not been sanctioned by the police. 

Protesters have been galvanised by a number of recent harsh jail terms dished out to people, including young girls, involved in demonstrations.

One such woman Sara, 19, is among 21 women and girls who were recently sentenced to 11 years in prison for taking part in demonstrations.

"This verdict was very shocking. It was very tough and unjust. My daughter was telling me today from prison 'Mom I am 19 years old - after 11 years when I get out of prison I will be 30 years old'. You cannot imagine how much hurt hearing those words caused me," says Abeer Youssef, Sara's mother.

Sara was found guilty by courts in Alexandria of a series of charges including thuggery, illegal gathering and damage of property.

She along with other women had formed a human chain during protests against the military led-government several weeks ago.

According to Mahmoud Gaber, a lawyer who represents these women and girls, "the case has been politicised and the facts clearly show his clients are innocent".

"There is no evidence at all in the papers of the lawsuit against my clients - from the moment they were arrested through the investigation until the judge announced the verdict and the sentence - there is not one eye witness saying those women committed these crimes," he says.

We need to start one [revolution] that is much stronger and we should do the reforms ourselves.  We shouldn't kneel [down to] the military to do the reforms. We shouldn't trust the Islamists taking over by democratic elections. We should avoid all these mistakes that we have done before and start all over again.

Wael Abbas, blogger and journalist

Human rights groups have condemned both the trial and the sentences. They say Egypt must do away with laws and punishments that were practised by the Mubarak regime.

Egypt's military-backed government has become increasingly intolerant of dissent.

Just over a week ago, 12 students from Al-Azhar University were jailed for 17 years each for attempting to storm the headquarters of the institution.

And on Thursday, police arrested Alaa Abdel Fattah, a leading figure of the 2011 uprising, for calling for protests in defiance of a new law that restricts demonstrations.

Since President Mohamed Morsi was deposed, the government has mounted a major crackdown on his supporters, killing hundreds and arresting thousands more.

Critics say the government has failed to investigate the deaths of protesters or hold perpetrators accountable.

They say the military-backed interim government has gone too far with a law that bans protests that have not been approved by the police.

The worry now is even those who backed the coup that removed Morsi from office might change their minds.

So, will this new approach bring stability or could the tough approach backfire? Is there a new wave of revolution possible in Egypt? 

Inside Story presenter David Foster, discusses with guests: Maged Reda Botros, professor of Political Science at Helwan University; Diana Eltahawy, from Amnesty International; and Wael Abbas, blogger and journalist.

"I sympathise with young girls but we have to respect the rule of law. We don't question the court rulings .... You can't comment on court rulings. This is against the law. If you want the rule of law don't comment on the court rulings."

Maged Reda Botros, professor of Political Science at Helwan University

Source: Al Jazeera