It started when young women in Alexandria planned a march against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf). We had seen the shocking video of the girl stripped by the soldiers in Cairo—and every woman felt that she could have been that girl.
The protest in Alexandria was set for Wednesday and announced on Facebook. We planned to march from the library to the Al Manshia district for a public screening of a video detailing Scaf’s crimes.
But some of the young women were so enthusiastic that they organised another protest a day earlier. On Tuesday, they marched from the Victor Emanuel Square to the northern military zone in Sidi Gaber district. This was not well prepared for and had no publicity yet numbers grew until there were 1,000 women and a small cordon of men.
Wednesday’s protest started with around 500 women on the steps of the library chanting slogans against the Scaf, Field Marshal Tantawi, and the oppression of women—“Raise your head girl, you have honour and they don’t”; “The women of Egypt said their last word, the Scaf are under the women’s shoes”; “We are the free girls of Egypt we don’t accept the army’s apology and we are going to free Egypt from tyranny”.
Numbers increased rapidly until there were around 6,000 women, cordoned by some men supporting our cause. When we got to the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier in Manshia we screened video footage of the army violations for all to see.
The diversity of the protesters was remarkable. There were old women and young girls, women wearing headscarves and women covering their faces, women with short hair and women with long hair.
Everyone felt empowered by taking part in the protest.
Women in Egypt are oppressed, especially those from the working class, but the revolution has raised hopes and dreams of equality.
We are protesting because the attack on the women in Tahrir Square is an attack on those dreams.