The recently shut-down paper was published on behalf of the FJP, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing.
The decision to stop the publication and the distribution of the paper followed the cabinet’s declaration on Wednesday, deeming the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.
FJP journalists have called on the Press Syndicate to intervene and reverse the decision. They described Saturday’s protests as the first in a series of escalation steps.
Mostafa Al-Khateeb, an FJP reporter who took part ofthe protest, said that a sit-in could be held at the Press Syndicate until their demands are met.
“This is a strictly politicised decision,” Al-Khateeb said, commenting on the newspaper’s shut-down. “The government is trying to restrain their biggest political contender [the Muslim Brotherhood] ahead of the coming elections.”
The Press Syndicate condemned the decision to shut-down the FJP newspaper in an official statement released on Friday. The syndicate said that declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation does not entitle the government to shut-down its publication. The paper is distributed on behalf of a “legitimate and active political party,” the syndicate added.
“We reject suppressing freedoms or the return to confiscating and shutting-down newspapers, even if that decision is based on a court order,” the syndicate’s statement read, in reference to the practices of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. “We will stand up to any practices against the press. These sorts of actions open the door for dividing the nation at a time when we are in dire need of unity to face terrorism.”
Al-Khateeb said that Mohamed Abdel Qoddous, head of the Press Syndicate’s Freedoms Committee, was present during the protest. Syndicate board member Hanan Fekry said that the board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss their stance regarding the shut-down of the FJP newspaper.
The interior ministry coordinated with state owned Al-Ahram, which prints the FJP paper, and confiscated the printed issue for Thursday, 26 December.
Following its weekly meeting on Wednesday, the cabinet announced that the Muslim Brotherhood would be listed as a terrorist organisation, making it legally accountable under Article 86 of the Egyptian Penal Code.