Middle East

Egyptian riot police cordon off journalists' union in Cairo

  • Egyptian security forces close off a street near the Press Syndicate as journalist's protest in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Memos containing internal instructions from Egypt's Interior Ministry were leaked to the media on Tuesday, outlining strategies on how to deflect public outrage over arrests it made inside the journalists' union, handle the media in general, and deal with the case of an Italian student found tortured to death. Arabic on the banner reads, "journalism is not a crime." (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

    Egyptian security forces close off a street near the Press Syndicate as journalist's protest in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Memos containing internal instructions from Egypt's Interior Ministry were leaked to the media on Tuesday, outlining strategies on how to deflect public outrage over arrests it made inside the journalists' union, handle the media in general, and deal with the case of an Italian student found tortured to death. Arabic on the banner reads, "journalism is not a crime." (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)  (The Associated Press)

  • Egyptian American journalist Ahmed Bakr shows his identification card as he and others are blocked from entering a protest near the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Egyptian riot police cordoned off the headquarters of the journalists' union and limited access to the building Wednesday in an escalating standoff following a raid on the premises and the arrest of two journalists. (AP Photo/Brian Rohan)

    Egyptian American journalist Ahmed Bakr shows his identification card as he and others are blocked from entering a protest near the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Egyptian riot police cordoned off the headquarters of the journalists' union and limited access to the building Wednesday in an escalating standoff following a raid on the premises and the arrest of two journalists. (AP Photo/Brian Rohan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Supporters of Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi demonstrate against a journalists' protest, held at the Press Syndicate, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Egyptian riot police cordoned off the headquarters of the journalists' union and limited access to the building Wednesday in an escalating standoff following a raid on the premises and the arrest of two journalists. (AP Photo/Brian Rohan)

    Supporters of Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi demonstrate against a journalists' protest, held at the Press Syndicate, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Egyptian riot police cordoned off the headquarters of the journalists' union and limited access to the building Wednesday in an escalating standoff following a raid on the premises and the arrest of two journalists. (AP Photo/Brian Rohan)  (The Associated Press)

Egyptian riot police have cordoned off the journalists' union in downtown Cairo and limited access to the building.

The move comes as dozens of journalists rallied outside the union headquarters Wednesday, demanding Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar's dismissal, and ahead of a planned meeting about a recent police raid and arrest of two journalists.

The two were arrested over allegations they called for anti-government protests over President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's controversial decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

Similar blockades at the union headquarters have been imposed intermittently since April 25, when security forces carried out sweeping arrests of hundreds of activists to stifle demonstrations against on the two islands.

On Sunday night, police stormed the union building to arrest two journalists who held a sit-in inside the premises.