Egypt's public prosecutor referred three political activists to trial on Thursday on charges including protesting without permission, a judicial source said.

It was the first case of activists being charged under the provisions of a new law criticized for stifling the right to protest.

The activists charged on Thursday include Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 movement that helped ignite the historic 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak, and Ahmed Douma, another prominent dissident.

They are also charged with assaulting police.