In this undated image made from video released by the producers of "Awel el Kheit" or "the Thread" which airs on the private TV station ONTV, a group of young men harass three girls in Cairo, Egypt.(File Photo: Reuters)
No complaints of physical sexual harassment were received during Eid al-Fitr, Egypt's National Council for Women (NCW) announced on Friday, the last day of the Islamic holiday that often witnesses molestation in the streets.
Lawyers working for the council headed to crowded areas over the past two days, including Cairo's Tahrir Square, the Corniche, Qasr el-Nil bridge, downtown, and Al-Azhar Park from 5 pm till 10:30 pm to record cases of sexual harassment. Their field work continues on Friday.
While no physical harassment incidents have been reported so far, the NCW operations room said some instances of verbal harassment took place in public parks.
The NCW added that the council was coordinating with Egypt’s interior ministry and the anti-violence against women unit in the Cairo Security Directorate to follow up on cases reported during the three-day holiday.
The NCW statement highlighted that seven verbal harassment cases were noted in Cairo's Al-Azhar Park during the first day of Eid.
The NCW representatives accompanied the anti-violence against women forces in front of cinemas, where a heavy security presence was witnessed in crowded areas.
According to the council, the chief of the Cairo Security Directorate's unit that aims to combat violence against women said that no sexual harassment cases were reported in Downtown Cairo during the first day of Eid until noon on the second day of the holiday.
In Giza, the field visits conducted by the NCW included visits to the Cairo districts of Mohandseen, Haram, Faisal, the Giza Zoo, and Orman Park, and Dokki, where the NCW followed up with anti-vice police at the Giza Security Directorate.
NCW lawyers said 48 verbal harassment complaints were filed in the Giza Zoo alone.
The council added that 16 complaints of verbal harassment were filed in Qalyubia governorate, with most of the harassments in El-Qanater El Khayriya.
The NCW stressed that its operations room is continuing its work for the third day of Eid.
It has provided numbers to receive any complaints during the holiday, including a hotline of 15115, 01121997477, 01007525600, 01205575331 and an email: [email protected]
In recent years, female police officers have been deployed by the interior ministry on the streets to confront sexual harassment during Eid, which often witnesses a surge in reports of harassment.
Sexual harassment was criminalised in 2014. The law imposes jail terms of no less than six months, and/or fines of EGP 3,000 to EGP 5,000 ($419 to $700) on those who are found guilty of sexual harassment in public or private areas.