Mashrou' Leila on top of Cinema Rio (Photo: Rowan El Shimi)
Egyptian authorities arrested two more people – a man and a woman – for allegedly raising an LGBT "rainbow flag" during a Cairo performance by Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila last month, and public prosecution ordered their detention for 15 days pending investigation .
Several people have been detained in the past days in connection with the raising of the flag, which is an international symbol of “LGBT pride".
Pictures of several fans raising the flag at the concert went viral on social media and caused a storm of controversy on Egyptian TV talk shows.
On Sunday, the Higher Council for Regulating Media decided to ban the appearance of homosexuals and their slogans on all media outlets, "unless their appearance is identified as a bad behavior that has been repented."
In a separate incident, Egypt's Azbakeya prosecution referred 17 men to a misdemeanour court last week for "forming a network for homosexual acts" and "debauchery", among other charges.
The men were arrested in a police raid on a flat in Cairo's Ramses Square. The prosecution said that some of the young men who had frequented the Ramses flat were involved in raising the LGBT flag.
While consensual homosexual acts are not explicitly criminalised under Egyptian law, people accused of homosexuality have been convicted on charges such as debauchery and violating public morals.