Egypt Parliament committee approves Saudi islands deal

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EGYPY(RKGS)Egyptian protesters opposed to a 2016 agreement to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia clashed with police in downtown Cairo, just hours after a parliamentary committee approved the deal.

Witnesses said plainclothes policemen moved late on Tuesday to disperse dozens of protesters soon after they emerged from inside the headquarters of the Egyptian Press Syndicate, the Journalists’ Union, and gathered on the steps outside chanting anti-government slogans.

Before the violence broke out, the protesters were chanting slogans against Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s general-turned-president. “Down with military rule,” they screamed.

They were on the steps for several minutes before police attacked them with witnesses saying the officers punched and kicked protesters and beat them with sticks.

The controversial agreement for Cairo to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia passed an Egyptian parliamentary committee on Tuesday, setting the stage for a vote in the house.

Parliament’s legislative committee agreed the treaty after heated debate, with opponents even interrupting one session with chanting.

The agreement passed with 35 lawmakers for and eight against, member of parliament Mostafa Bakry told AFP news agency.

Parliament’s defence committee will also examine the accord before it goes to a general parliamentary vote.

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