Egypt has arrested 12 people for taking part in a protest against the government’s decision to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.
Security officials said police made the arrests around the Journalists' Union building in central Cairo on Monday where a protest was taking place.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to speak to media, said scores of people, mostly lawyers and journalists, participated in the demonstration.
The protest came as the government last month endorsed a contentious maritime border agreement to hand over the strategic islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia and sent it to parliament for ratification.
On April 9, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced that the islands of Tiran and Sanafir fell within the territorial waters of Saudi Arabia as stipulated in a border accord signed between Cairo and Riyadh the previous day.
The controversial decision has triggered unprecedented mass demonstrations ever since, with protesters slamming the arrangement as unconstitutional.
Demonstrators and critics have accused Sisi of surrendering Egyptian territory for money, with reports saying Cairo is receiving 20 billion dollars in aid from Riyadh in return for agreeing to relinquish sovereignty over the islands.
A number of lawyers have filed a lawsuit in the administrative court to block the deal. Last month, Cairo’s appeal court approved a verdict by a lower court that rejected the June ruling by the administrative court. A more senior tribunal, the Higher Administrative Court, is due to deliver a verdict on January 16.
The uninhabited islands of Tiran and Sanafir lie about four kilometers apart in the Red Sea. They are situated in the narrow entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba leading to Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories.