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Egyptian Police Just Arrested People For Raising A Rainbow Flag At A Concert

Egyptian police have arrested as many as 33 people for raising rainbow flags during a concert by Mashrou' Leila.

The Lebanese alternative rock band's lead singer is openly gay.

The band released a statement after hearing of the arrests:

When images of the flag surfaced on social media and drew criticism from politicians and media figures, Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered authorities to investigate. Reda Ragab, deputy head of the Egyptian Musicians Syndicate, said they would be taking steps to ensure that Mashrou' Leila never performs in Egypt again. 

Ragab told the Daily News Egypt:

We are a religious, conservative society, an identity we need to preserve.This is a scandal against our traditions and far from serious and meaningful art.

Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International, called for the prisoners' release:

The scale of the latest arrests highlights how dangerously entrenched homophobia is within the country. Instead of stepping up arrests and carrying out anal examinations, the authorities must urgently halt this ruthless crackdown and release all those arrested immediately and unconditionally.

H/T: Twitter, Amnesty International, BBC