Source: Max Pixel

Following the ongoing protests in France, Egypt recently banned the sale of yellow vests in a bid to silence activists and protesters.

The decision aims to block individuals from mimicking French protesters in what is now called the "copycat movement." This comes after protesters in Tunisia launched their very own "red vests" campaign - a youth-led campaign - calling out "corruption, high costs of living, unemployment and mismanagement." 

The "yellow vest" ban comes just ahead of the country's seventh anniversary since the 18-day revolution in January 2011 which saw the toppling of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak. Officials fear anti-government protests will take ground.

Source: Wikimedia

Safety equipment dealers are now prohibited from selling yellow vests to walk-in customers. According to The Independent, six retailers said they were no longer selling yellow vests after being notified by police officers.

"They seem not to want anyone to do what they are doing in France," one retailer said.

On Nov. 17, protests erupted in France in response to a spike in fuel tax. the ongoing protests have since widened, calling out the government's economic policies and demanding president Emmanuel Macron to resign.

Sarcasm dominated the conversation on Twitter

"If you have a yellow vest, take care"

"It isn't about the color of the vest"

One activist was detained in Egypt for "wearing yellow vest" in solidarity with French protesters

On Tuesday, an Egyptian prosecutor ordered the detainment of a lawyer after posting a photo of himself donning a yellow vest. 

Alexandria's public prosecutor ordered a 15-day detention of rights lawyer Mohamed Ramadan.

Egypt's crackdown on reporters, political activists, and social reformers has intensified in recent years. Earlier this year, authorities in the country arrested a number of journalists, bloggers, and activists.

In 2017, a Press Freedom report revealed that the Middle East and North Africa is the world's worst region for press freedom. The report investigated freedom of media and journalists in 180 countries and found that "democracies, as well as dictatorships, had increasingly clamped down on press freedom."