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Popular anger at islands transfer highlights Egypt’s polarized society

Cairo erupts in protests over the proposed handover of two Egyptian Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia as protesters question the Egyptian government's intentions behind the deal.
Egyptians react on December 19, 2016 at the high administrative court as a judge announces the postponing of a court ruling in the case of two Red Sea islands to January 16, 2017, in the capital Cairo. The writing in Arabic reads ''Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian''.
An Egyptian court suspended on September 29, 2016 a previous ruling freezing the controversial transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, which had provoked protests when announced earlier this year. In June, an administrative court had ove
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A legal battle over a controversial Egyptian-Saudi maritime border demarcation agreement on two Red Sea islands threatens to spill over onto the streets, as protests condemning the deal erupt in Cairo and other major Egyptian cities.

Under the agreement signed on April 8, 2016, Egypt is to cede control of the two islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia. The government says the islands are in fact Saudi Arabian but have been in Egyptian custody since 1950. Many Egyptians are skeptical and believe the government is giving the islands to Saudi Arabia as gifts in gratitude for the generous aid the kingdom has pumped into Egypt since the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

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