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The New Arab

Egypt police checking for rainbow flags at Red Hot Chili Peppers pyramids concert

Police were checking for the famous rainbow LGBT flag at a Cairo concert [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 March, 2019

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The raising of a LGBT flag at a 2017 Mashrou' Leila concert in Egypt led to dozens of arrests.

Egyptian police officers on Saturday ensured concertgoers attending a Red Hot Chili Peppers performance in Cairo were not carrying the famous rainbow LGBT flag, according to social media reports.

Several people on Twitter reported officers checking for flags at the concert, which was attended by more than 10,000 people on Saturday at the Pyramids of Giza.

"Entering Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at Cairo Pyramids. Police officer asks: "you have no flags?" Asked what type of flags responds: "flag for the gays. Not allowed," tweeted journalist Samer al-Atrush.

Freelance journalist Eduard Cousin tweeted "Officer at entrance of #redhotchilipeppers concert asks if we have any flags with us: 'With the colors, for the gays, not allowed!' #Egypt".

A child's crayons were also taken away by police so that the flag could not be drawn while inside, an attendee reported on Twitter.

This comes less than two years after two dozen people were arrested by Egyptian authorities after the flag - a symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community - was waved by several people at a Mashrou' Leila concert on 22 September 2017.

The crackdown was condemned by the popular Lebanese alternative rock band. It’s lead singer Hamed Sinno, who is openly gay, said they were "heartbroken" by the events.

The crackdown is still ongoing, describes Ifeatu Nnaobi, saying there have been at least 75 arrests since the incident.

Those arrested were charged with "promoting sexual deviancy" and were convicted with sentences ranging from six months to six years in prison.

Homosexuality is not expressly outlawed in Egypt, but is highly taboo in Egypt among Muslims and minority Christians alike.

Mashrou' Leila has previously been banned from performing in the Jordanian capital Amman.

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