Following recent anti-gay crackdowns and arrests by police, activists in Egypt have launched a social media campaign to draw international attention to the surveillance and persecution of the local LGBT community.
The campaign follows the arrests of nine men who appeared in a video allegedly celebrating a gay wedding, and another six men who have been jailed after being arrested in a raid on an apartment for advertising their apartment as a place for gay sex on Facebook for $200 a night.
Organizers are asking people to use Twitter hashtags #StandForEgyptLGBT and #SolidarityWithEgyptLGBT to voice their support ahead of coordinated protests outside Egyptian embassies worldwide, planned for Oct 18.
‘We invite you to participate in the demonstration that will take place on 18 October 2014 in front of every Egyptian embassy around the world [if accessible] to protest against human rights violations committed by the Egyptian government, relying on unlawful and unethical media tools, towards those of differing sexual orientations and gender identities,’ organizers Solidarity with Egypt LGBT (@EgyLGBTQ) said in a statement.
The individual identities of the organizers are not known.
The Solidarity with Egypt LGBT and Egylgbtq Facebook pages feature dozens of messages in English and Arabic from LGBTs and allies.
In the statement, organizers also explained a new hashtag #Stop_blue_coat which they started to call for an end to using extensive surveillance technology and spying softwares ‘against anybody, not just LGBTQ community members’ by the government.
Blue Coat Systems is a company based in Sunnyvale, California which had reportedly sold the Egyptian government the surveillance technology.
According to a Human Rights Watch report published in 2004, Egyptian men suspected of being homosexual are at risk of being harassed, arrested and even tortured.