Egypt’s judiciary sentenced 152 protesters to two to five years in jail this past Saturday for violating the law that bans demonstrations. The protesters had been rallying against the Egyptian government’s cession of two Red Sea islands to the Saudi Arabian government in exchange for multibillion-dollar aid from the oil-rich country. El-Sissi asserted that the islands had always belonged to the Saudis. Many disagree.
Though the police released most of the 1,200 first arrested leading up to and on April 25 at the protest, nearly 300 were sent to trial due to the 2013 law prohibiting Egyptians from protesting.
The verdict was announced at a police base on the outskirts of Cairo, not an uncommon practice in Egypt. Neither are mass convictions rare; once, el-Sissi sent hundreds of the supporters of former president Mohammed Morsi to jail.
While still enjoying widespread support by the people of his country, el-Sissi has seen a cut in his popularity due to the island deal and rising prices in basic commodities like food and public services.