Amid criticism from rights groups, police crack down on Eid harassment

Amid criticism from rights groups, police crack down on Eid harassment

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Wed, 31/10/2012 - 13:29

Security authorities in Cairo and Suez said they arrested 541 people during Eid al-Adha based on investigations of harrassment in the streets.

More than 500 harassment incidents were reported in Cairo and 39 in Suez during the holiday of religious sacrifice which began Thursday.

Security authorities in the capital registered 64 acts of public indecency and 438 incidents of harassment, of which eight were sexual, the Interior Ministry said in a statement Wednesday. Most of the reported incidents occurred in Qasr al-Nil, Nasr City, Zamalek, downtown and along the Corniche, according to investigations.

The statement added security forces in Suez arrested 39 people for harassing women on the streets.

The “I Saw Harassment” activist initiative launched earlier this month by six women's rights organizations has accused Prime Minister Hesham Qandil of failing to take necessary security measures to prevent such violations.

In a report issued on Sunday, the initiative described three instances that took place in front of police officers who allegedly failed to react or intervene: a 17-year-old girl being harassed by a soldier near Qasr al-Nil Bridge, a young man in his twenties violently pulling a girl by her hair and kissing her and a veiled girl being harassed while walking with her fiancé.

Qandil said in a press statement last week that the government was working on a bill for more severe punishments for sexual harassment, which he described as a disastrous phenomenon that is alient to Egyptian society.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm