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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Egypt: limited protests took place amid the celebration of Sinai Liberation Day

Protests against the Red Sea Islands deal with Saudi Arabia
held in Cairo on Monday
(Image: Ahram Online)
Limited protests against the recent government's agreement with Saudi Arabia over the Red Sea Tiran and Sanafir islands took place in Cairo on Monday, 25 April, amid the celebrations of the Sinai Liberation Day.

Several political groups and activists have been planning the protests on the Sinai Liberation Day en days after several thousand people have gathered in Downtown Cairo to protest the decision of Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the country's government regarding the new maritime borders with Saudi Arabia and handing the Red Sea islands to the sovereignty of the kingdom. The rallies were called "Land Friday" though they were dispersed by the security forces, as many activists and participants of the demonstrations were arrested.

Huge protests were planned to be held on Sinai Liberation Day on Monday too, and the demonstrations were set to take place in three major locations: Journalists' Syndicate and Doctors' Syndicate in Downtown Cairo and in Dokki district (Giza). Though the protests' organizers' decided later to change the location of the rallies due to the tightened security presence in the streets of Cairo.

The major protest took place at the afternoon in Dokki (Giza), as hundreds demonstrators have gathered to protest against the recent Red Sea Islands deal with Saudi Arabia. Protests were held under the slogan "Egypt is not for sale". Police and security forces have later dispersed the rally using the teargas. Local press reported that dozens of protesters, activists and journalists were also arrested.

Minor marches protesting against the Red Sea islands deal and El-Sisi's policies have been also held in other parts of Cairo.

Supporters of Egypt's President El-Sisi and celebration of Sinai
Liberation Day in Downtown Cairo
(Image: Ahram Online)
Meanwhile, thousands of people have attended the government's organized celebration events and shows held in Cairo's Abdeen Square in Downtown and dedicated to the 34 anniversary of liberation of Sinai Peninsula and withdrawal of the Israeli Armed Forces. The festivities were also organized by the Egyptian Future for Homeland Party which supports the President and his policies.

Military parade, air and water shows have been held during the celebrations, including the Egyptian navy paying their respect to the holiday. In addition to that several pro-government rallies have been also held in Cairo during the day.

It's worth mentioning also that Egypt's Press Syndicate condemned what it called attempts to attack and storm the organization's headquarters in Downtown Cairo on Monday, 25 April. The representatives of the Press Syndicate claimed that the assailants have managed to attack the building despite the heavy security presence and police cordons in the streets.

Egypt's Armed Forces and security forces have tightened security measures and deployed additional troops and military vehicles in the streets of Cairo and other cities ahead of the planned celebrations on Sinai Liberation Day and due to the calls for the anti-government protests to be held in Monday.