Last edited: February 13, 2005

Global Protests Against Egyptian Crackdown

The Data Lounge, May 12, 2003

NEW YORK—International gay civil rights groups demonstrated in more than a dozen cities worldwide against the ongoing repression, imprisonment and torture of gay men in Egypt.

The demonstrations, which began Friday, were called to mark the second anniversary of the raid on the Queen Boat nightclub in Cairo, which marked an aggressive new chapter in President Hosni Mubarak’s anti-gay crackdown.

Writer and activist Mubarak Dahir and Amnesty International’s Michael Heflin addressed a rally outside the Egyptian mission in New York on Friday, to draw global attention to Cairo’s repressive policies.

In Washington, Faisal Alam of the American gay Muslim organization Al-Fatiha, said the protest was planned to refocus world public opinion on the “human tragedy unfolding in Egypt” recently distracted by “the war on terrorism and the Iraq war.”

“Our tax dollars, indirectly and directly, fund the oppression of gay men,” Alam told The Washington Blade. He said the United States has not made Egypt’s human rights a priority in their relations “Our own government has virtually done nothing,” he said.

“There are many, many countries, including Egypt, where their campaigns have increased to root out, to arrest, and to torture the gay community,” Alam continued. “Under the guise of ‘war on terrorism’ it’s easy to get away with heinous acts. No one will hold them accountable,” in such an environment, he said, “especially the United States.”

Democratic members of Congress led by Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Tom Lantos of California sent a letter to Congress on May 2 asking to “withhold any support for a U.S.-Egypt Free Trade Agreement until the government of Egypt stops its brutal systematic persecution of gay men.”

In addition to New York and Washington, protests were carried out in Berlin, Dublin, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Manila, Montreal, Paris, Toronto and the Norwegian cities of Bergen and Oslo.

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