An Egyptian defense lawyer says a Cairo appeals court has acquitted 33 protesters sentenced to two years in prison for taking part in anti-government demonstrations

Sarah Rabie says Sunday that the court's verdict was issued late the night before.

The 33 are among nearly 300 people arrested for taking part in illegal protests in April over Egypt's decision to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. Most have been freed without charges, convicted and later acquitted or released on bail.

April's protests were the largest since the 2014 election of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, whose government insists that the islands of Tiran and Sanafir at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba are Saudi.