Security forces arrested on Sunday evening two men in the Damanhour governorate for protesting against the cabinet decision placing Sanafir and Tiran islands under the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia.
The protesters held a demonstration in Al-Sa’a square in Damanhour, holding banners that read ”Egypt is not for sale”, in protest of the cabinet decision. Both protestors will be sent to the Damanhour prosecution Monday morning.
Also on Sunday, three women and two men were released after being arrested from Talaat Harb Square in downtown Cairo in a protest disputing the decision.
According to Ahmed Abdel Naby, the lawyer representing the five protesters, during the investigations the prosecution accused them of holding protests with the aim of insulting President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
Egypt’s cabinet announced Saturday in an official statement that Sanafir and Tiran islands will now fall under the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia after the demarcation of maritime borders.
The decision concluded after nearly six years of discussions between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the statement read.
The decision sparked widespread public debate over the rightful ownership of the Sanafir and Tiran islands.
On social media pages, regime supporters have attempted to prove the ownership of both islands to Saudi Arabia supporting the cabinet decision, while opposition, rights groups, and activists rejected the decision, stating that both islands are part of Egypt’s sovereign borders.
They described the decision as “treason”, with many claiming the land was “sold” in return for Saudi investments, using a hashtag that translates to “the land was sold”.