Egyptian women protest against military violence

News article, posted 12.21.2011, from Egypt, in:
Yumna Mukthar
Egyptian women protest against military violence (Photo: Al-Masry Al-Youm)

Summary: Thousands of women marched yesterday (December 20, 2011) in Tahrir Square condemning the military violence against female activists during the events that started last Friday, December 16. The women demanded that the military council to hand over power through presidential elections and to stop the military trials for activists, as well as the release of all detainees. Dr. Reem al-Khafish, a member of the Women New Association, said to Al-Masry Al-Youm, “The military council has been trying, since it took power, to prevent women from participating in political events and to humiliate them by taking their clothes off and taking their virginity.” Al-Khafish added that these attempts by the military to humiliate the Egyptian women will not succeed adding that women will participate in demonstrations against the military council until the demands of the revolution are met.

The military council released an official statement via its official Facebook page expressing deep regret and an apology to all Egyptian women about what happened during the recent demonstrations. The council stated, “The military council apologizes to all women in Egypt and confirms its full respect and appreciation for women and their right to demonstrate and to actively participate in political life.”

In response to the council’s apology, women shouted in the demonstration in Tahrir Square, “We don’t accept your apology... Indecent assault is not a Joke,” (“Mush Qableen al-E’tizaar..Hatik al-‘Aard Mush Hizaar”), referring to the woman whom the army had beaten and stripped of her clothes of during the demonstration.

Sheikh Hazem Abu Esmaeil, a likely candidate for the presidency, criticized the military aggression against women and said that he will call for a mass demonstration in defense of the honor of women. Sheikh Hazem said that people who are keeping silence about what is happening in Tahrir Square are partners in these crimes.

The Revolution Youth Union issued a statement calling political coalitions and activists to a mass protest on Friday December 23, 2011 to “Regain Honor.” The organizers are demanding the end of military rule and revenge for the abuses of women by the military during the events that started last Friday, December 16. The statement was signed by the following movements and political coalitions: