A committee in the Press Syndicate, headed by Khaled Meery, started on Sunday an investigation into incidents that took place a few days ago during a protest in front of the syndicate against the approval by the parliament’s Legislative Committee of the Red Sea islands agreement.
The committee will investigate channels that are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood entering inside the headquarters of the syndicate and airing the incidents live, in order to identify the responsible bodies, asserting that it is not the place for political activists to protest.
Several journalists protested in front of the Press Syndicate amid a strict security presence. Also, lawyers arranged protests in front of their syndicate, located near the Press Syndicate, both leading security forces to storm the syndicate and arrest a number of journalists.
Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy, lawyer Khaled Ali, and former head of the Press Syndicate Yehia Qallash joined the protests, among other prominent political figures.
The agreement, known as the “Red Sea islands” agreement, which sought transferring the sovereignty of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia, was signed during the visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in April 2016 to Egypt. It has been a source of public controversy since then and has sparked protests that saw the detention of dozens of opponents.
Similarly, on 1 May 2016, the police stormed the syndicate to arrest journalists Amr Badr and Mahmoud Al-Saqa on accusations of posting “false information” on Facebook about the agreement.
The storming in 2016 resulted in several protests and sit-ins held by journalists, as well as the general assembly of the syndicate, which called for the release of all imprisoned journalists, the resignation of the Minister of Interior, and an “official apology” from President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
Last Wednesday, the parliament approved the Egyptian-Saudi maritime demarcation in a general session, which means transferring the sovereignty of the Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia.
The general session was held after the parliament’s Defence and National Security Committee approved the agreement.
Over 250 members attended the session. The Egypt Support Coalition and the Salafist Nour Party approved the agreement.
Members voted by a show of hands, not by names as demanded by some members.