Egypt detains activists after joining pro-Gaza protest outside Journalists' Syndicate

Egypt detains activists after joining pro-Gaza protest outside Journalists' Syndicate
Since the Israeli war on Gaza erupted in October, Egypt has been criticised for only letting critically injured Palestinians and dual nationals enter.
3 min read
Egypt - Cairo
04 April, 2024
Wednesday's protest marks the return of the Journalists' Syndicate as a hub for activists after, arguably, being idle for many years. [Getty]

During Wednesday evening and the early hours of Thursday, Egyptian authorities detained several activists after they had joined a pro-Gaza protest outside the headquarters of the Journalists' Syndicate in downtown Cairo hours earlier.

A prominent activist told The New Arab that "many of the detainees had already appeared a few hours later before a Cairo prosecutor, while the whereabouts of others remained unknown."

"They are currently being interrogated as we speak. But the charges they are facing are still unclear," said the activist, on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety.

The exact number of detainees was not officially announced, but unconfirmed reports put the number at 11 activists who were arrested so far. 

The detentions are believed to have been prompted by slogans the activists in question shouted against the regime and figures linked to it clouded by allegations of corruption.


During Wednesday's protest, marking 180 days of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian Gaza Strip, activists and journalists slammed what they described as "the inaction of Arab leaders" towards the ongoing brutal Israeli aggression on civilians.

For almost six months, the Palestinians of Gaza have been suffering from the lack of health care and nutrition, as many, mostly children and infants, have died of hunger.

Live Story

On Monday, Gaza's health ministry put the death toll from Israel's airstrikes and ground assault at 32,845, most of them women and children.

The demonstrators further called on Egypt's government to indefinitely open the Rafah border crossing in North Sinai, Gaza's only connection to the outside world, for more humanitarian aid to be delivered to the besieged enclave and for injured Palestinians to cross into Egypt for treatment.

Over the past weeks, similar protests were held in the same spot in the form of symbolic Ramadan Iftar protestesters only broke their fast with bread and water to protest the starvation of Palestinians in Gaza in the Palestinian strip.

Such occurrences marked the return of the Journalists Syndicate, led by Khaled El-Balshy, the first independent journalist to head the union, as a hub for activists and demonstrators after, arguably, being idle for many years.

Since the Israeli war on Gaza erupted on 7 October last year, Egypt has been criticised for only allowing critically injured Palestinians and dual nationals to enter the country from the besieged coastal enclave.

No official statistics have been made public about the exact number of Palestinians who crossed into Egypt since the war or others who have been living in the country before the Israeli offensive on Gaza.

Live Story

Egypt and Israel have imposed a strict blockade on Gaza after Hamas assumed power following clashes with the rival Fatah faction that has ruled the occupied West Bank for nearly 17 years.

It was nearly a decade later, when Hamas dropped its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, an outlawed group in Egypt since 2014, that the Egyptian regime softened its stance towards the Palestinian faction.

Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, is currently among the few parties talking to both sides as a critical mediator.

Such efforts have become more urgent as Israel has frequently threatened to launch a major ground offensive on Gaza's southern Rafah city, currently harbouring over 1.5 million displaced Palestinians of a population of almost 2.2 million.