Six detained in Egypt for 'raising pro-Palestine banners'

Six detained in Egypt for 'raising pro-Palestine banners'
Egyptian security forces have reportedly arrested six activists in Alexandria for displaying support for Palestinians.
3 min read
01 May, 2024
The arrest comes amid a series of detentions in Egypt against activists, journalists, rights lawyers and citizens over their participation in a pro-Palestinian rallies [Getty]

Egyptian security forces have reportedly detained six activists in the northern city of Alexandria over public support for Palestinians, local media reported on Tuesday.

The detainees, some of whom allegedly raised a pro-Palestine banner, were apprehended on Sunday, according to the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), which named one of the individuals as Ali Mohamed, a labour activist and founder of the Popular Committee to support the Palestinian Cause.

The ECESR said that one of the detainee's wives said that her husband had not engaged in any illegal activities or caused any disturbances, with the display limited to a show of popular support for Palestine amid Israel's offensive on the neighbouring besieged Gaza Strip.

"So far, no official information has been released by the authorities regarding the whereabouts of the detainees or the charges against them," the ECESR added.

The Egyptian Center’s lawyers are following up the appearance of the detainees in Alexandria and State Security Prosecution in Cairo, to attend the investigations with them.

It comes amid a series of arrests against activists, journalists, rights lawyers and citizens over their participation in a pro-Palestinian rallies in Egypt.

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Last week, around 18 activists were arrested in front of the UN Women headquarters in Cairo while they protested peacefully in support of Gaza and Sudan.

Veteran journalists Eman Ouf and Rasha Azab, and high-profile activists, including lawyers Mahienour El-Masry and  Ragia Omran, were disappeared after they attempted to hand a letter to officials at the UN Women's Office to object to "the indifference towards the violations committed against women during wars in Sudan and Gaza".

Egypt's Syndicate of Journalists urged the release of the detainees, saying in a statement last Wednesday that the expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people "cannot in any way be considered a crime because it is the permanent Egyptian popular position that supports the causes of the Arab nation".

For over six months, Israel has been relentlessly and indiscriminately bombarding the besieged Gaza Strip, where it has killed over 34,500 people - most of them women and children.

The rare protests in Egypt have called on Cairo to indefinitely open the Rafah border crossing in North Sinai, Gaza's only connection to the outside world, to allow in more humanitarian aid and for injured Palestinians to leave for treatment.

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.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has run the country with an iron fist since he seized power following a 2013 coup. Media freedom and civil rights have sharply deteriorated since then.