BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:20 A.M.) – Clashes erupted between police and protesters staging a sit-in at the headquarters of the Egyptian Press Syndicate in Cairo on Tuesday, shortly after the Egyptian parliament approved a deal paving the way to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia’s control.
Protesters were inside the building as well as outside chanting against Egyptian President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi on the steps by the Journalists’ Union.
Former presidential candidate and leftist activist Hamdeen Sabahi said that people “think that these islands will not go to Saudi Arabia but to Israel, and this deal is part of a mysterious arrangement in the region”.
El-Badeel newspaper editor in chief, Khaled el-Balshi called said it was “an illegal agreement, especially after the court refused it. This means that the parliament has lost its legitimacy”.
The contested islands of Tiran and Sanafir sit at the narrow entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba which leads to Jordan and Israel. Courts originally struck down the agreement, first signed in April 2016, but a year later another court upheld it.