Several women’s rights groups are set to hold a protest on Sunday at the Maspero building against the recent remarks by Minister of Information Salah Abdel Maqsoud.
The protest is organized by the Shoft Taharosh women’s coalition, which incorporates six women’s rights groups including Fouada Watch, the National Front For Egypt’s Women, and Baheya ya Masr. The 6 April Movement will also participate in the protest, according to movement member Mohamed Ibrahim Ali.
The groups will call for the dismissal of Abdel Maqsoud due to recent remarks he made that have been perceived as sexual harassment.
Abdel Maqsoud provoked public anger following his response to a question by a female journalist during a press conference held on 13 April, where he responded to a question regarding freedom of the press by saying “Come here, and I’ll tell you where”, a phrase that has a sexual connotation in colloquial Egyptian Arabic. The minister repeated his response to the question in a press conference held a few days later.
“Dismissing this harassing minister is crucial now. It is not enough, though, he should also be punished on charges of indecent assault,” said Marwa El-Sherif, a member of the Fouada Watch women’s rights group.
Fathy Fareed, another Fouada member, said that Abdel Maqsoud had also previously verbally harassed a TV anchor and another journalist. He called on the prosecutor general to order the minister’s arrest. “The prosecutor general is supposed to represent and respond to the concerns of all Egyptians, which includes arresting this minister who continues to distort our image at the international level.”
Abdel Maqsoud responded to the accusations a few days ago, saying that he did not intend to insult the TV anchor or the journalists. During a phone interview with Al-Mehwar TV channel, he said that his statements were falsely interpreted in an attempt to distort his image and undermine his achievements. “Throughout my life, I have never insulted any of my colleagues, and I hereby state my respect for all of them and apologise if my statements were understood incorrectly,” concluded Abdel Maqsoud.