Egyptian police used violence to disperse protesters who took to the streets on Friday in demonstrations against President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s decision to hand two islands in the Gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia, AlMesryoon.com has reported. According to a BBC reporter, 25 protesters were arrested in Alexandria and 10 others were picked up in Cairo during “Egypt’s Land Day”.
The police fired tear gas at the protesters, who gathered in front of Mostafa Mahmoud Mosque before heading to Tahrir Square in the capital. Police and protesters also clashed near Al-Istiqama Mosque in Giza. A counter-demonstration took place near the Mosque of Ibrahim the Leader in Alexandria in support of Sisi and his deal with the Saudis.
The agreement with Saudi Arabia will see the islands of Sanafir and Tiran “relocated” into Saudi territorial waters. Law experts claim that Sisi’s decision amounts to a violation of the Egyptian constitution.
However, the Egyptian president insists that the islands have always been Saudi territory. He called critics of the deal “people of the devil” and accused them of conspiring against Egypt.
The Egyptian interior ministry warned citizens against taking to the streets, saying that protests would cause chaos in the country. It pledged to crack down on those involved and accused the Muslim Brotherhood of “incitement”.