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Political groups will join fight against sexual harassment

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Members of political groups will join Tahrir Bodyguard in attempts to make Tahrir Square harassment-free

Demonstration in Cairo against sexual harassment in Egypt (AFP PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES / AHMED MAHMUD)

Demonstration in Cairo against sexual harassment in Egypt (AFP PHOTO / GETTY IMAGES / AHMED MAHMUD)

Members of the 6 April Democratic Coalition will be volunteering with Tahrir Bodyguard next Friday to reduce sexual harassment in Tahrir Square.

Tahrir Bodyguard was founded last November. It fights sexual harassment and rape and utilises social media, especially Twitter, to mobilise people for the cause.

Zeinab Thabet of Tahrir Bodyguard said that the group is open to cooperation with any political movements, parties or NGOs, in order to stop sexual harassment.

On Sunday, the group held talks with representatives of the Al-Dostour Party, the National Salvation Front (NSF), and the 6 April Democratic Coalition. Soraya Bahgat, who attended the meeting, said these were just initial talks but Al-Dostour and the NSF are enthusiastic about cooperating.

Al-Dostour has cooperated with the non-political movement since its launch. Bahgat said the party supported them and allowed the movement to use its tents in the square. “We would like to thank it for supporting us,” she said.

The volunteers from political groups will wear Tahrir Bodyguard’s regular uniform: a neon vest and a helmet. “We are uniting political groups against this issue,” Bahgat said.

Both males and females volunteer with the movement. Women actively take part in patrolling and raising awareness but keep their distance when it comes to mob sexual harassment, for instance. Bahgat explains that they do not intend to belittle female volunteers, but that some incidents involve at least 50 men.

On Friday 25 January, at least 19 cases of women being verbally assaulted, groped, or raped were reported in Tahrir Square.

Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment, another group which fights sexual harassment with the help of volunteers, announced last week that it was disappointed in political groups for not stepping up to combat harassment.

In a recent statement, a coalition of political groups, parties and initiatives vowed to take legal and social stands against perpetrators.


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