We have 'no responsibility to monitor audience behaviour,' says Egypt musicians syndicate after rainbow flag incident

Ahram Online , Tuesday 26 Sep 2017

Lebanese alternative rock band Mashrou' Leila performs during the Ehdeniyat International Festival in Ehden town, Lebanon on August 12, 2017 (Photo: Reuters)

The Egyptian Musicians Syndicate bears no responsibility for monitoring audience behaviour at concerts, a representative said on Tuesday in the wake of the arrests of fans who raised the rainbow flag at a rock gig on Friday.

The controversy began last week as pictures of fans holding the rainbow flag, a symbol of LGBT pride, at a Cairo concert by Lebanese rock outfit Mashrou’ Leila provoked outrage on social media and on Egyptian television talk shows.

On Monday police arrested seven people who allegedly held the flag, and on Tuesday national security prosecutors summoned the concert organisers for questioning.

The syndicate’s sole duty lies in observing the behaviour of the band to whom they have granted a licence, Tarek Mortada, a syndicate media consultant, told state-news agency MENA.

"We contacted the band and warned them against the recurrence of such incident in any upcoming concerts; however we have no authority as a syndicate to monitor the behaviour of the audience," Mortada added.

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

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