Security refuses to receive notification for island protest

Sayeda Zeinab Police Station refused to receive notification for a protest planned by the “Egypt is not for Sale” group over the cabinet’s decision to hand sovereignty of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, member of the group Abdel Aziz al-Hosseiny told Mada Masr on Saturday.

Protest organizers attempted to submit notification for a demonstration in front of the cabinet to Sayeda Zeinab Police Station, and following its refusal to acknowledge the protest, plan to submit directly to the Interior Ministry, Hosseiny explained.

Political groups called for Wednesday’s protest after the cabinet approved the island deal last month and referred it to parliament. Among those calling for the protest are the “Egypt is not for Sale” campaign, the Democratic Current Party, the Social Democratic Party and a number of other political figures.

Hosseiny headed to Sayeda Zeinab Police Station on Saturday, along with former ambassador Maasoum Marzouk and lawyers Tamer Gomaa and Ali Suleiman, to notify authorities of the protest, in compliance with Egypt’s 2013 protest law.

The head of the police station asked them to notify the Security Directorate, despite the law stipulating notification should be given to the nearest police station to the protest site. As they were heading to the Security Directorate, the head of the police station called them, according to Hosseiny, and asked them to return and finish procedures, despite rejecting the notification.

Article 8 of the protest law, passed in 2013, mandates that notification be submitted to the corresponding police station three days before a protest is planned to take place, including the time and location of the demonstration, the topic and the slogans that will be used, in addition to the names and contact information of those who will take part.

The “Egypt is not for Sale” campaign was inaugurated following the signing of the island deal between President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz last April.

The administrative court issued a verdict in June invalidating the deal and stating that the islands fall under Egyptian sovereignty.

Several protests have been held against the island deal, the latest of which took place on January 2 and ended with the arrest of 12 protesters.

Parliamentarians had stated that parliament wouldn’t discuss the matter until the Supreme Administrative Court issues its final verdict on the case, expected January 16, following the government’s appeal of the initial verdict.

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