Interior ministry warns Egyptians not to protest over disputed islands

Thursday 14-04-2016 07:46 PM

Protest at the Lawyers Syndicate on Apr. 14, 2016 against the transfer of the Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia. ASWATMASRIYA/ Asmaa Gamal

Photographer Asmaa Gamal

CAIRO, Apr. 14 (Aswat Masriya) - The interior ministry warned against protests “that aim to create chaos,” and “confrontation between civilians and security forces,” in an official statement on Thursday soon after the Muslim Brotherhood, the April 6 movement and other groups announced planned demonstrations.

The Brotherhood, April 6 movement, and the Revolutionary Socialists all called for demonstrations on Friday to protest Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s decision to transfer the two Red Sea islands of Sanafir and Tiran to Saudi Arabia.

The ministry, however, attributed all the calls to the Brotherhood.

The interior ministry warned Egyptians not to “follow” the calls, and warned of "any attempts to break down legitimacy.” Police also announced that they will take all legal measures necessary against protesters and that they will be “assertive.”

Last Saturday, during a visit by Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz to Cairo, the Egyptian cabinet announced that Egypt signed a maritime border demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia stipulating that the two disputed islands will be part of Saudi territorial waters.

The agreement between Saudi and Egypt has come under heavy scrutiny from Egyptian analysts, journalists, public figures, and social media users who argue the two islands are Egyptian and accuse Sisi of “selling Egypt” to Saudi Arabia.  

In the past two days, tens of activists staged protests at both the press syndicate and the lawyers syndicate in opposition to what they saw as the "selling" of Egyptian land.  

The two Red Sea Islands, Sanafir and Tiran, are strategically significant for maritime activity in the Gulf of al-Aqaba.

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