After an emergency meeting held in the early hours of Monday morning to address security forces’ storming of the Press Syndicate’s headquarters, the Press Syndicate Council announced the syndicate’s board would stage an indefinite strike until Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar is dismissed from his post.
Earlier in the night, Press Syndicate head Yehia Qalash told a Daily New Egypt correspondent that a police force of at least 50 officers stormed the syndicate’s headquarters and arrested Yanair Gate’s editor-in-chief Amr Badr and journalist Mahmoud Al-Saqa.
Emerging from the meeting, the council also announced it will hold an emergency general assembly meeting on Wednesday to discuss further measures and called for newspapers to black out the front page of their Tuesday’s issues in protest of the incident.
However, the Ministry of Interior has stated that the two journalists “surrendered willingly”, as a police force of eight officers entered the syndicate to arrest them. The ministry added that Badr and Al-Saqa were ordered to be arrested after the prosecution accused them of inciting protest and attempting to distort the stability of the country. The prosecution ordered police to arrest them from the syndicate where they were “hiding”.
Earlier Sunday evening, Qalash demanded Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar resign from his post
While the Press Syndicate’s Council met inside the syndicate, dozens of journalists began demonstrating in front of the syndicate’s headquarters, chanting against the Ministry of Interior and the sovereign transfer of Sanafir and Tiran islands to Saudi Arabia, according to a Daily News Egypt correspondent outside the building.
In a televised interview with CBC, Qalash said that the “storming is an insult to the country, and the syndicate is supposed to represent freedom and journalism.”
He added that the police could not have stormed the building without the permission of the prosecution.
It has not been confirmed whether the general prosecutor issued a search warrant.
Badr and Al-Saqa have been taken to the Shubra Police Station. Their charges are still unknown.
Badr and journalist Al-Saqa began a sit-in outside the Press Syndicate’s headquarters on Saturday to protest security raids conducted at their private residencies at dawn on Friday, the second raid they have been subjected to in the last two weeks.
A Daily News Egypt correspondent reports that squads of riot police have surrounded the streets leading to the syndicate, preventing anyone from entering or leaving the area.
Journalists have taken to social media to condemn security forces’ actions, stating that the syndicate has never been breached in the 75 years since it was founded.