Activists protest Sisi's transfer of the Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia in front of the Journalists' Syndicate on April 15th, 2016. (ASWAT MASRIYA/ Mohamed al-Raai)
CAIRO, Apr. 15 (Aswat Masriya) – Police arrested at least 100 people in nine different provinces on Friday, a security source told Aswat Masriya, as the protests over Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia came to a close.
The source added that 17 of those arrested are journalists and photographers who work for different news outlets.
Activists on social media reported that the protesters who had gathered in front of the Press Syndicate were able to negotiate a “safe dispersal” with security forces but police still dispersed the protests using tear gas.
A security source told Aswat Masriya that the tear gas was fired at the protesters who refused to leave the demonstration, and after they had been “warned.”
On the other hand, many protesters announced they would be continuing their street action on Apr 25.
Thousands of protesters gathered in front of the Press Syndicate today to protest after the Egyptian cabinet announced on Saturday that Egypt signed a maritime border demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia stipulating that the two disputed islands, Tiran and Sanafir, are part of Saudi territorial waters.
The agreement is yet to be ratified by the parliament.
The protesters called for "the fall of the regime" and chanted against Sisi, calling him “Mubarak’s dog,” and calling on him to “leave!”
Hosni Mubarak was Egypt's president for 30 years, until a popular uprising led to his ouster in 2011. Sisi was elected president in 2014 after he led a military ouster of then-President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood following mass protests against his rule. Sisi had served as defence minister during Mursi's rule.
Since the cabinet announced signing a maritime border demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia, activists and critics accused Sisi of “selling Egypt,” and criticised the aura of secrecy surrounding the whole process. A hashtag which translates from Arabic to English into “Friday of the Land” has been trending on social media.
The interior ministry had warned Egyptians not to “follow” the calls, and also warned against "any attempts to violate legitimacy,” in a statement on Thursday. Police also announced that they will take all legal measures necessary against protesters and that they will be “firm.”
Various political groups, including the 6 April youth movement, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and a number of political parties have called for protests throughout the past week.
The two Red Sea Islands, Sanafir and Tiran, are strategically significant for maritime activity in the Gulf of Aqaba.