Scores of women gathered at Maspero, the headquarters of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union, on Sunday afternoon to protest against the Minister of Information Salah Abdel Maqsoud.
Several Egyptian women’s movements, including Fouada Watch, Baheya Ya Masr and Shoft Tahrosh (I have seen harassment) called for a demonstration in protest to Abdel Maqsoud’s remarks to a female journalist on Thursday in a press conference.
“We are here only to say no to the minister who is a harasser, inflicting verbal and psychological abuse on women,” said a founding member of the Kefaya movement, Karima Al-Hefnawi.
Holding signs denouncing sexual harassment and slippers, a sign of degradation in Egyptian culture, women chanted against Abdel Maqsoud, the Muslim Brotherhood and sexual harassment.
“What the Brotherhood’s minister is doing is harassing Egypt,” said TV Presenter Hala Fahmy. “[The country] is being raped through Maspero.”
She added that sexual harassment has been a problem in Egypt for some time, but has only recently gathered media attention. “The harassment mentality is everywhere. Women are harassed on buses, on the streets and elsewhere,” she said.
Um Mohamed, an elderly lady who joined the protesters, said that it was important to protect female journalists. “Reporters supply me with information while I am sitting at home,” she said. “We have to protect them from harassment.”
The protesters demanded the minister’s resignation and chanted against the government for “ignoring” his transgressions.
“He has to be removed to protect Egyptian women and stop the Brotherhood’s influence on media,” said Al-Hefnawi. “A media council, not a minister, is needed to effectively run state media. It is the Brotherhood’s policy to dismantle the state and hence they placed [a Brotherhood member] as information minister to guarantee the prominence of one opinion.”