Within the last few weeks, Egyptian authorities have launched a severe crackdown on the LGBT community. Over 60 arrests have been made since the rock band known as Mashrou’ Leil held a concert in Cairo. A few audience members raised the rainbow Gay Pride Flag and were swiftly taken into police custody.

Police have begun setting up chatroom traps to catch gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. They have also started raiding private homes in the middle of the night, taking anyone they think might be gay into custody.

Human rights violations

Many people who have been arrested have been subjected to severe beatings in prison and forced rectal inspections.

Egyptian Human Rights Activists claim that they have never seen such a large scale of targeting a specific community before. Egyptian authorities have not even been this enthusiastic about arresting potential terrorists.

The human rights office at the United Nations has condemned these arrests and described them as being unjust. A representative said that the arrests were in violation of international law.

So far, over 60 people have been arrested. On Tuesday, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights reported that 20 people were given prison sentences ranging from 6 months to 6 years. No one has been released yet.

A woman who was arrested was beaten for an entire night in her prison cell. The woman, only known as Sara, told her lawyer, Doaa Mostafa, that the security guards had told the other prisoners to beat her.

Sara was arrested for waving the Gay Pride flag at the concert.

Nationwide hate

Pew Research Center conducted a study in 2013 that found that 95% of Egyptians considered homosexuality to be socially unacceptable. Egypt's largely conservative population believes that homosexuality is a sin. Although homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, the Gay Pride flag being raised at the concert sparked a fury among many Egyptians.

Many of the people who have been arrested were charged with "debauchery" or prostitution. One human rights activist, who asked to simply be called Mohamed, said that the Egyptian people want to show how conservative they are. He went on to say that they want to show the world that they are embracing their traditions.

Mashrou’ Leil

The Lebanese rock band Mashrou’ Leil has also condemned the arrests. The frontman for the band, Hamad Sinno, is gay. Even though human rights activists warned him against speaking out about the arrests, Sinno harshly criticized Egyptian authorities.

Sinno called the arrests "sickening" and said that they would not have played in Egypt if they had known this would happen. In response, Egyptian authorities have banned the band from performing in the country again.