Egypt grounds kites for 'safety', 'national security'
Egyptian police have seized kites from people flying them after a ban by a northern governorate for "safety" reasons and a lawmaker's warning they posed a "national security threat".
Police seized 369 kites in Cairo on Friday, Al-Ahram reported, while Akhbar Al-Youm, another state newspaper, said police confiscated 99 kites and fined five people in the northern region of Alexandria. The ban was brought in "to ensure the safety of citizens after a number of accidents" involving kites, Alexandria's governorate said this week on its Facebook page.
Fines imposed for kite-flying in the Mediterranean city can reach up to 1,000 pounds (about $60). Egypt's skies have been filled with thousands of colourful paper kites flown by youths from rooftops and on corniches, as the hobby took off during night-time curfews to limit the spread of coronavirus.
But they have also raised complaints, including from an MP. Khaled Abu Taleb, a member of parliament's Defence and National Security Committee, said last month he wanted the prime minister briefed on the dangers of flying kites because they posed "a national security threat".
The kites might be equipped with surveillance cameras, he said. Abu Taleb was roundly ridiculed on social media in Egypt, where operating a drone is only authorised with a special permit.
A three-month curfew was lifted in June, even as cases of COVID-19 in Egypt continue to rise, with over 80,000 declared infections and nearly 4,000 deaths to date.