Committees will be formed across Egypt’s governorates to gather signatures for a petition that will be presented to parliament and concerned authorities to demand that the state abolishes the maritime demarcation deal between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the “Egypt is not for sale” campaign, which was launched by the Democratic Alliance party, announced on Tuesday evening at a press conference.
The press conference was part of several events within a week-long sit-in that began on Sunday in the Socialist Popular Alliance party (SPAP) headquarters.
The sit-in will continue until the end of the week in protest of the deal, the maltreatment of 25 April protest detainees, and to address the Egyptian people and the authorities on the risks of deal that completely violates Egypt’s geography, history, and Constitution, the acting head of SPAP Medhat Al-Zahad said during the conference.
He further said that on behalf of the Egyptian people, political parties will send a memo to parliament with five demands.
Firstly, the state must not take any action that could affect Egypt’s sovereignty over the islands, whether by changing maps or any information in certain documents to claim Saudi Arabia’s ownership of the islands. This includes any other action inconsistent with articles 1 and 151 of the Constitution that do not allow any party to waive any parts of Egyptian land.
Secondly, the authorities must stop chasing and imprisoning people who reject the islands deal and all those who are detained must be released immediately. Thirdly, the Protest Law must be amended as it contradicts with the Constitution which grants people the right to freedom of expression.
Fourthly, a pardon must be issued to release all those detained for expressing their opinion. The state should be able to distinguish between people expressing their opinion and holding flowers and people carrying Molotov cocktails and bombs.
Fifthly, all laws restricting freedoms must be amended and the prosecution must be allowed to inspect prisons and police stations. Prisoners must be treated with respect and human rights violations must cease.
The political parties decided to continue the open-ended sit-in which will be symbolic and rotational among political parties’ headquarters across the governorates, SPAP central communications officer Moataz El-Shenawy told Daily News Egypt.
On Friday, the sit-in will continue in Alexandria and Beni Suef governorates.
El-Shenawy explained that this decision is aimed at escalating people’s rejection of the islands deal until the state pays attention to their demands. During the conference, other political figures stressed that persistence is necessary to defend Egypt’s ownership of the islands but only in accordance with the law.
Speakers at the conference did not only focus on the island issue but also on the security crackdown against civil society members and opposition groups.
“Egypt is not for sale” condemned state violations against these groups and those opposed to the islands deal as they did not commit any crime but rather demonstrated peacefully for the sake of their land ownership.
Speakers concluded by agreeing that the state suppressed and ignores their voices through arrests and threats. But this will not stop them from continuing their work to reveal the dishonesty of this agreement and the violations by the regime to silence opposition groups.
This the second press conference to be organised following the administrative court session to rule on a lawsuit filed by lawyers Khalid Ali and Tarek Al-Awady, as well as the now jailed Malek Adly, to abolish the Egyptian–Saudi maritime demarcation agreement.
Last Tuesday, another conference was held to discuss the same demands, along with detainees’ conditions.
The islands transfer to Saudi Arabia proved to be hugely controversial among intellectuals, public figures, social media users, and activists, as well as both anti-government and pro-government citizens.