CAIRO: Security authorities agreed to re-open Cairo’s central Sadat metro station Saturday after it was closed on Friday as hundreds of protesters took to the streets to decry Egypt’s decision to handover sovereignty of two Red Sea Islands to Saudi Arabia, according to Youm7.
The underground station, located under the iconic Tahrir Square, was opened in June 2015, after almost two years of closure since the dispersal of the pro-ousted President Mohamed Morsi sit-ins in August 2013.
After calls for “Friday of the Land” protests on social media, hundreds rallied rejecting the decision, repeating anti-military rule chants, and calling for the fall of the regime.
The calls came after Egypt signed a maritime demarcation agreement with Saudi Arabia that stated the two Red Sea Islands of Tiran and Sanafir belong to the Kingdom.
In his Wednesday televised speech, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi defended the decision stressing that “Egypt does not sell its land, and never relinquish its rights.”
On Friday, riot police fired tear gas to disperse some gatherings in Giza, Cairo and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, while a mass protest of hundreds was staged outside the Press Syndicate in Cairo until late on Friday, surrounded by forces who blocked roads leading to the site.
Lawyer and former 2012 presidential candidate Khaled Ali asked demonstrators at the syndicate to leave, calling for another anti-decision protest on April 25; which marks the 34th anniversary of Sinai Liberation Day.
Amid shortage of news flow on Friday protests on local media outlets, the social media took the lead in updating the events, reporting dozens of arrests, and later released from police stations.
In his speech, Sisi was critical of social media, asking media practitioners not to allow social media to be the source of information, saying it’s only an “indicator” and cannot be trusted.