- Mashrou' Leila spoke out on Monday against the anti-gay 'witch-hunt' by Egyptian authorities following the raising of an LGBT rainbow flag during the group's Cairo concert
- Egypt is currently reported to be rounding up people suspected of homosexuality to carry out anal examinations
- Nearly two dozen people have been reportedly arrested since the concert on Sept. 22
- 17 men accused of homosexuality went on trial on Sunday facing charges of "incitement to debauchery"
Popular Lebanese alternative rock band Mashrou' Leila spoke out on Monday against the crackdown by Egyptian authorities on members of the LGBT community, after an LGBT rainbow flag was raised during the group's latest concert in Cairo.
The band, whose lead singer Hamed Sinno is openly gay, said they were "heartbroken" by the crackdown, which has seen dozens of people arrested since the gig on Sept. 22.
"We cannot begin to explain how saddened we are to see yet another era of backward tyranny creep over one of our most beloved countries and audiences," the band said in a statement posted on its social media accounts late on Monday.
"It is sickening to think that all this hysteria has been generated over a couple of kids raising a piece of cloth that stands for love."
The band said they initially refrained from making a statement on the arrests for fear of "further inflaming the situation," but that it had "become rather apparent in the last 48 hours that the state apparatus is hell-bent on executing the most atrocious of human rights violations".
"The state is currently rounding up kids and violating their bodies," the statement added, in reference to reports that authorities planned to carry out anal examinations on people suspected of homosexuality swept up in the detentions.
"We denounce the demonization and prosecution of victimless acts between consenting adults," the statement said.
Mashrou' Leila called for an international campaign to pressure Egypt "to immediately halt its ongoing witch-hunt and release all detainees".
"We call on cultural producers, musicians, and activists, inside and outside Egypt, to express their solidarity with the Egyptian community during this horrible time. This is no longer something any of us can afford to ignore."
Nearly two dozen people were arrested by Egyptian authorities since the flag, a symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, was waved by several people at a Mashrou' Leila concert on Sept. 22.
Homosexuality is not expressly outlawed in Egypt but is highly taboo in Egypt among Muslims and minority Christians alike.
On Sunday, 17 men accused of homosexuality went on trial at a closed-door hearing facing charges of "debauchery" and "incitement to debauchery".
And the waving of the rainbow flag at Mashrou' Leila's concert provoked an outpouring of criticism in parts of Egypt's media.
Egypt's conservative musicians syndicate has said Mashrou' Leila would not be authorized to perform again in the country.
The group has previously been banned from performing in the Jordanian capital Amman.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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