Egyptian authorities summon concert organisers, arrest 7 fans after rainbow flag raised at gig

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Tuesday 26 Sep 2017

A LGBT pride flag lifted during Mashrou' Leila's latest Friday gig in Cairo (Photo Courtesy of social media)

The organisers of a Cairo concert that featured Lebanese rock band Mashrou’ Leila have been summoned for questioning by Egyptian national security prosecutors after a number of concert-goers waved rainbow flags at the event, according to a prosecution statement released on Tuesday.

On Monday police arrested seven people who allegedly held the flag, a symbol of LGBT pride, during the Friday concert. 

The concert, which was held in Cairo Festival City's music park in New Cairo, drew an audience of over 25,000.

Following the concert, pictures of some fans embracing the flag triggered a wave of criticism on social media and on television talk shows.

Some talk show hosts called for the popular Lebanese group, who have performed several shows in Cairo in recent years, and whose lead singer is openly gay, to be banned from the country.

On Monday, the office of the prosecutor-general issued a statement saying it had ordered an investigation into the "the concert that was organised by a group of homosexuals in the Fifth Settlement district of New Cairo."

The incident comprises "promoting homosexuality, and raising a flag that represent these abnormal practices," according to the statement.

The prosecution's order comes after they received several legal complaints regarding the incident, the statement read.

Also on Monday, the parliamentary bloc of the Salafist Nour Party said it would submit an official request to the house calling on the government to ban the band.

There are no official figures on the number of homosexuals in Egypt.

While same-sex consensual homosexual conduct is not explicitly criminalised under Egyptian law, people accused of homosexual acts have been arrested and sentenced to jail on charges such as debauchery and violating public morals.

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