Twelve demonstrators who were protesting against the Egyptian-Saudi maritime demarcation deal on Monday faced investigations on Tuesday, according to lawyer Mohamed Fathi.
The protesters were arrested on Monday and taken to El-Gamalia police station. The prosecution accused the protesters of assembling, blocking roads, unlicensed protesting, possessing weapons, bricks, and fireworks, and assaulting a police colonel.
Only eight protesters out of 12 arrested on Monday arrived to Qasr Al-Nil prosecution for investigation.
In conjunction with that, the parliament officially received the agreement for discussion on Monday.
The protesters were arrested while attempting to arrange a rally in front of the Press Syndicate to reject the referral of the Egyptian-Saudi maritime demarcation deal to the parliament. The deal transfers the sovereignty of the Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia.
Security forces were deployed in the street in which the Press Syndicate is located, hindering protesters from entering to arrange their scheduled rally in front of the syndicate.
Therefore, the protesters transferred their rally to the premises of the High Court of Justice, which is situated in a parallel street to the syndicate. Security forces dispersed the rally and arrested the protesters.
Online videos showed security forces assaulting protesters and dragging them into a police truck. Among the arrested protesters was a journalist named Ahmed Bayoumi, who is working for Lebanese newspaper Addiyar and was there to cover the events.
A woman was arrested in Alexandria for holding a banner that read ”Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian”, and was transferred to Al-Attareen police station.
Moreover, about 3,000 public figures, activists, and opponents signed a statement that will be sent to the parliament expressing their rejection to the handover of the islands to Saudi Arabia.
The incidents occurred after the cabinet approved the agreement on 29 December, and its decision to forward the agreement to the parliament.
Parliamentary speaker Ali Abdul Aal said that the parliament will take its time in discussing the agreement with full transparency, and will hire experts for assistance.
The referral of the agreement to the parliament was criticised by lawyers who saw it as unconstitutional and a violation of the Administrative Court’s verdict, which had nullified the agreement.
The recent arrests add to the toll of the detention lists in the “Red Sea islands” case. All detainees are charged with unlicensed protesting and spreading false information.
Previously in April 2016, more than 250 protesters were arrested across the nation in relation to the issue. There are still people detained and also facing trials in governorates. The protests in April against the agreement caused numerous security raids of houses and coffee shops in downtown Cairo to arrest activists.
The protesters were calling for the annulment of the agreement and asserting the Egyptian sovereignty over the islands.
Arrests against protesters continued despite the work of the Detained Youth Committee, which was called for by the presidency to grant pardons for youth arrested in protest cases.
Protesters in Egypt are facing arrests in accordance to the Protest Law, which stipulates prison sentences of one to two years. The law also states that punishment should not exceed five years, and also allows fines between EGP 50,000-100,000.
The Protest Law has been condemned by multiple international and local non-governmental organisations, as it is alleged that thousands have been detained over the past four years for protesting and are currently serving harsh prison sentences.