On Friday night, American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a concert for more than 10,000 people with the Pyramids of Giza in the background.
Some concertgoers have posted on social media their bewilderment after being asked by policemen upon entry whether they have any “flag of gays”.
On Twitter, Samer Al-Atrush wrote that the concert had high security. Among the items banned, Al-Atrush tweeted, were rainbow flags often used in support of the LGBTIQ+ community.
Entering Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at Cairo Pyramids. Police officer asks: “you have no flags?” Asked what type of flags responds: “flag for the gays. Not allowed.”
— Samer Al-Atrush (@SameralAtrush) March 15, 2019
“Entering Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at Cairo Pyramids. Police officer asks: “you have no flags?” Asked what type of flags responds: “flag for the gays. Not allowed,” wrote Al-Atrush in one Tweet.
“Three colours for the gays” he explained…”
Another social media user, Eduard Cousin, also tweeted that he was asked if he has any flags with him.
Officer at entrance of #redhotchilipeppers concert asks if we have any flags with us: “With the colors, for the gays, not allowed!” #Egypt
— Eduard Cousin (@EduardCousin) March 15, 2019
“Officer at at entrance of #redhotchilipeppers concert asks if we have any flags with us: ‘With the colors, for the gays, not allowed!'” read Eduard’s tweet.
Another user, Ahmed Mohieldin, responded that policemen confiscated his friends’ daughter’s crayons in case they were thinking of drawing a rainbow flag.
Egypt’s Ministry of Interior has not released any statements regarding its search for rainbow flags. However, this comes less than two years after seven people were arrested for raising a rainbow flag during a concert by Mashrou’ Leila in Cairo.
The seven people were captured on video and photography raising the rainbow flag in a display of solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community.
Mashrou’ Leila was later banned by the Syndicate of Musical Professions from performing in Egypt for performing “abnormal art”.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt. However, police have often relied on anti-debauchery laws to arrest and detain both homosexuals and supporters of homosexuality on charges of debauchery, blasphemy and others. Similarly, private citizens have also raised lawsuits against a number of figures for promoting the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community.