Egypt: Women protest against mass harassment

The Siasat Daily
Scores of Egyptian women demonstrated in Cairo against sexual harassment on Thursday in response to reports that gangs of young men attacked women in the street at random and groped them last month.
Eyewitnesses, cited by newspapers and Web sites, said the attacks on women took place on Oct. 23 and 24, the first and second days of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
The reports said police stood aside as mobs surrounded some women and pulled off some of their clothes, and that other women ran away and took shelter in shops and people’s homes.

The Interior Ministry, which runs the police force, said in a statement that it received no reports of harassment and that media reports of the incidents were baseless.

Protesters revived the opposition slogan “The Street is Ours” and called for President Hosni Mubarak and Interior Minister Habib el-Adli to be removed from office.

They taunted the hundreds of riot police who surrounded them, saying they protected the government, but turned a blind eye to attacks on ordinary women.

The Egyptian Centre for the Rights of Women, which helped organise the demonstration, said it had received numerous complaints of harassment from women.

Members of the opposition Kefaya (Enough) movement, which led demonstrations against Mubarak last year but has since lost momentum, also took part in the protests.

Friday, 10 November 2006