CAIRO: A media gag has been imposed on a case in which 86 people are being tried over “unlicensed” protests that took place April 25, per a Saturday decision by the Dokki Misdemeanor Court.
The protesters have been charged with violating the 2013 protest law that requires a police permit before any demonstrations. Many students and activists have been detained under the law.
The first court session began April 30 and ended with a decision to adjourn the trial to May 14. A media ban was also ordered, which has been previously imposed on several legal cases.
Some 38 of the protesters are currently being held in custody before trial, while 48 were released on bail.
The prosecution has drawn a list of charges against the protesters including: incitement to the use of force, incitement to attack police stations, violence, joining a terrorist group, disrupting public peace and incitement to protests, as quoted by Youm7.
Over 200 protesters were reportedly rounded up by authorities during the anti-government demonstrations to decry a border demarcation accord that transfers the sovereignty of two Red Sea islands into Saudi waters.
Ten days prior to the April 25 protests, the largest demonstrations in more than two years were staged against “selling the land,” which was then followed by a fierce police crackdown randomly arresting dozens from cafes and in-house raids.
Rights groups announced that a number of protesters were released on bail after investigations. The exact number of those who are still detained has not yet been disclosed.
Social media activists provided live updates during the April 25 protests, reporting that gatherings were dispersed by security forces once they were formed, and roads to meeting points were barricaded. In contrast, pro-government demonstrators were reportedly allowed to gather on the same day.
The agreement signed with Saudi Arabia in early April has created a huge public backlash against President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. A slew of documents have been shared on social media ever since, arguing that the islands are originally Egyptian and have not, as the government claims, been under Egypt’s control per request of the Kingdom in 1950.