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‘Land Friday’ Trends Worldwide as Thousands Protest in Egypt to Keep Islands from Saudi

‘Land Friday’ Trends Worldwide as Thousands Protest in Egypt to Keep Islands from Saudi

Credit: Mohamed El Ra3y
Credit: Mohamed El Ra3y

‘Friday of the Land’ (#جمعه_الارض) became a worldwide trend on Twitter as thousands gathered in Cairo, Alexandria, Mansoura, Suez and other cities to demonstrate against Egypt’s recent decision to declare two islands as Saudi Arabian.

Since trending on Friday morning, the hashtag has been used in more than 150,000 tweets.

Twitter users have been using the hashtag to vent their frustrations online about the “selling of the islands to Saudi Arabia”. Many have even called for the ouster of President Sisi.

However, others have used it to defend President Sisi, criticizing the protesters for ignoring the “historical accounts of the islands belonging to Saudi Arabia”. Earlier on Friday, more than 20,000 tweets used the hashtag “We are one hand [in unity] with Sisi” (), making it, at the time, the top trending tweet in Egypt.

It has been more than a year since protests of this scale took place in Egypt.

Protests since President Sisi took power have generally been limited to smaller demonstrations held by the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Egypt following the ouster of Mohammed Morsi from the Presidency in July 2013. In the past two years, calls for demonstrations against the President received a largely muted response.

However, the islands issue has created controversy across Egypt, with even the staunchest Sisi supporters questioning the decision.

Nevertheless, Egypt has stood by its decision to declare the two Red Sea islands as Saudi Arabians, releasing troves of documents showing proof of Saudi Arabian sovereignty.

Meanwhile, in a speech addressing members of parliament and the Egyptian people, President Sisi said the move was supported by decades of state documents.

“The decision [to acknowledge the Saudi claim] was made through documents with the Egyptian state institutions such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the General Intelligence Service; we also stuck to the 1990 presidential decree which was submitted to the United Nations,” Al-Sisi said in a televised meeting attended by state officials and public figures.

“The controversy is caused by the difference between how the state deals with the issue and how people take it from an individual perspective.”

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