The demonstrations on Saturday night came against the backdrop of the court ruling earlier in the day. The Palestinian movement’s armed wing was also given the same label a few weeks before.
Demonstrators carried banners reading, “Hamas is not a terrorist group,” and, “The resistance defends the dignity and freedom of nations.”
“This ruling is an attack against the Palestinian people because Hamas is the largest Palestinian political party. This court ruling also targets all Palestinian resistance movements because Hamas has spearheaded the Palestinian resistance,” said senior Hamas official Mushir al-Masri (pictured below) in an address to the protesters.
“The court must know that Hamas is a source of pride for all Arabs. Hamas and its military wings are there to protect the Palestinians and the Egyptians alike. Israel is the only one who benefits from this ruling,” a protester said.
The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters issued a verdict branding Hamas a “terrorist” organization. The ruling came weeks after the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, was also labeled by the court as a “terrorist” entity for what it called involvement in attacks against Egypt’s security forces.
Hamas condemned the verdict as “a gift to the Zionist enemy,” saying it targets the Palestinian people.
“This decision is a great shame and sullies the reputation of Egypt. It is a desperate attempt to export the internal Egyptian crisis and will have no effect on the position of Hamas which enjoys the respect of all the people and leaders of the nation,” read the statement by the resistance movement issued on its official website.
Iran also reacted strongly to the court’s decision, saying the verdicts serves Tel Aviv's interests as Israel is the real terrorist in the region, not the Hamas resistance movement.
“The Tel Aviv regime is the illegitimate and terrorist regime, which is incapable in the face of the resistance, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad (another Palestinian resistance movement),” said Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Iranian deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms anywhere, including in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Africa, and Europe,” the Iranian official added.
The government in Cairo accuses Hamas of having a hand in the deadly attacks on the Egyptian army in the Sinai Peninsula. Hamas, however, categorically denies the allegations.