Here is an alphabetical summary of items posted on the English section of the Women Living Under Muslim Laws website during March 2011.
We hope that our monthly summaries continue to be of use and interest to you. If you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to contact us.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws
International Coordination Office
CALLS FOR ACTION
UK: Appeal for Expressions of Solidarity with Dr Usama Hasan
A recent hate campaign has been waged against the London-based academic and imam, Dr Usama Hasan. He has been victimised, accused of apostasy and has received death threats for his comments on evolution and the woman’s right to choose whether or not to wear hijab. The Board of the Muslim Women’s Network-UK (http://www.mwnuk.co.uk/) strongly condemns the bullying and harassment of Dr Hasan.
Al-Jazeera interviews on Arab feminism
Riz Khan is joined by Rabab al-Mahdi, a professor of political science at the American University in Cairo; Frances Hasso, a professor of Women’s Studies at Duke University; and Nadje al-Ali, a social anthropologist at the University of London. What role have Arab women played in the popular uprisings around the Middle East and what stake do they really have in their countries’ political future?
RESOURCES and PUBLICATIONS
CEDAW & MUSLIM FAMILY LAWS: In Search of Common Ground
This report is based on a Musawah research project on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women that examined States parties’ justifications for their failure to implement CEDAW with regard to family laws and practices that discriminate against Muslim women.
NEWS & VIEWS
Algeria: Cherifa Kheddar on the 8 March rally
Dear friends, the rally that took place on the occasion of 8 March, International Women’s Day, at Place de La Grande Poste, “Place Karima Belhadj” (in Algiers) was a great success according to the public – both young and less young, women and men. The list of women assassinated by Islamists gave rise to a very interesting debate between the women and passers-by in the square baptised ‘Karima Belhhadj” on the 8 March 13 years ago. Many citizens came up to us and said they didn’t find the names of women they knew on our lists. They were invited to supply us with the necessary information so that we could add it to our lists.
Algeria: The road from Sidi Bouzid to Algiers
A hundred stalwart demonstrators stand on the Place de 1er Mai (First of May Square) in Algiers, at what has become their weekly Saturday gathering. They include activists from opposition political parties, women’s rights advocates, and people who are just plain fed up. This small but resolute troop is surrounded (and vastly outnumbered) by police who push them around and try to make them go away.
Bahrain: Police arrest 127 males in gay party raid
Bahraini police raided a gay party in Manama and arrested 127 mainly homosexuals from the Gulf countries. The fee-paying party described as “depraved and decadent” by the Bahraini police was organized on Wednesday and brought gay men mainly from GCC countries. A sports hall in Hidd, a conservative village in Muharraq island in north of Bahrain, was spotted as the party’s location for the revelers whose ages ranged from 18 to 30 years old.
Egypt: International Women’s Day: “I am happy, despite being harassed”
As everyone knows, today is International Women’s Day, and it is the first day for the celebration of women rights after the success of the Egyptian Revolution, which forced the former president Mubarak out of power in February. For the past two weeks, a call was made for citizens to participate in a million women march in Tahrir square to celebrate the day and honour the martyrs of Egypt: women and men. The march was supposed to be between 2:00- 6:00 PM on March 8 and the square was chosen as a symbol for the determination of the Egyptian pro-democracy movement.
Egypt: Celebrating International Women’s Day after the Jan25 Revolution
A group of young women and men led by Nawal Saadawi – a prominent Egyptian feminist – called for A Million Women March on 8 March to celebrate the centenary of International Women’s Day. A number of young people joined the coordination meetings and other women’s rights groups decided to participate in the march with their slogans.
Egypt: Coalition of Egyptian Feminist Organizations open letter to Prime Minister
The Coalition of Egyptian Feminist Organizations welcomes the appointment of Mr. Essam Sharaf as Prime Minister of the new civilian government of Egypt, especially after he confirmed being fully committed to the demands of the 25th of January revolution. The Coalition considers that the achievement of these demands require a clear representation of all the forces involved in the Egyptian revolution in the composition of the new cabinet, mainly the youth who played a historical role in initiating and inspiring the revolution by their determination to pursue the march till the end. The Coalition also considers that the forthcoming cabinet should reflect the representation of women from diverse affiliations, a representation that did not occur in the past cabinet or in the various committees that were established following the revolution.
Egypt: Rape, torture & murder of migrant women in Sinai Desert
Hotline for Migrant Workers, an organisation supporting undocumented migrant workers, refugees and victims of trafficking in Israel has published a report detailing accounts of torture, rape and murder of migrants at the hand of smugglers and traffickers in the Sinai Desert in Egypt, en route to Israel. According to the report and testimonies collected approximately 5,000 women were smuggled into Israel through the Sinai Desert in recent years and the majority of the ones who were held by the smugglers in the desert in 2010 were raped.
Egypt: Women protesters forced to have ‘virginity tests
Amnesty International has today called on the Egyptian authorities to investigate serious allegations of torture, including forced ‘virginity tests’, inflicted by the army on women protesters arrested in Tahrir Square earlier this month. After army officers violently cleared the square of protesters on 9 March, at least 18 women were held in military detention. Amnesty International has been told by women protesters that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to ‘virginity checks’ and threatened with prostitution charges.
Gambia: UPDATE: Witnesses did not appear in GAMCOTRAP Case hearing
Four witnesses failed to turn up to testify in the allegation of theft case against GAMCOTRAP officials, Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang- Sissoho at the Banjul Magistrate on the 9th March at 2011. Prosecution Officer, Superintendent Sainey Joof applied for an adjournment of the hearing because four Prosecution witnesses (2 from the Upper River Region and 2 from the Central River Region) did not turn up in court. Prosecution Officer Joof told the court that a fax message has been sent on Friday to the Police in Basse to inform the women that they should report to the Court in Banjul to testify in the GAMCOTRAP case hearing. “We have subpoenaed them to come but they are not here. The main office here has sent the fax to the Police so that they can use that to inform them.” Update to Gambia: Yolocamba Director Accused of Rights Violation
Gambia: UPDATE: Lack of Fula translator delays GAMCOTRAP case hearing
No more witnesses have testified since the testimony of the director of Yolocamba Solidaridad on the allegation of theft case against GAMCOTRAP officials Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho. Appearing before Principal Magistrate Alagde at the Banjul Magistrate court on Monday, 28 March 2011, Prosecution Officer Superintendent Sainey Joof announced the presence of only one witness instead of four as announced at the previous seating. Prosecution witness Mariama Sumura, one of the celebrated Ex-Circumcisers trained by GAMCOTRAP, was called to the stand. The court was brought to a standstill when it was realized that the witness could only speak Fula. Joof said he met the witness that morning and realized she could only speak Fula. Magistrate Alagde asked for volunteers from the court room to translate but none was forthcoming. Update to Gambia: Witnesses did not appear in GAMCOTRAP Case hearing
Indonesia: Anti-Discrimination Women’s Movement
On the 100 years celebration of women’s day, Solidaritas Perempuan (SP) organized a campaign series with title of Anti-Discrimination Women Movement (GADIS) as a form of public education. The selection of “GADIS” (GIRL) term, was not to reinforce nor perpetuating patriarchal discourse behind the word of GADIS that limiting women sexuality rights, but this campaign also used the term GADIS to restore the original meaning, which was; a woman who have undergone puberty and during that time, discrimination of women sexuality rights was becoming more visible.
International: Profile of Women Living Under Muslim Laws: What’s In a Name?
The preconceived notions about the working conditions of NGOs in general and feminist organisations in particular would seem to apply in this case. Behind a website crammed with a wealth of high-quality information in seven languages, successful campaigns, projects, and calls for solidarity, a lot of hard work is being done in backstreet offices. The international co-ordination office (ICO) of Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML, www.wluml.org) is situated in North London. Here, in a roughly thirty square metre corner of an old factory, five women and a handful of unpaid volunteers work, network, raise funds, publish, debate, and co-ordinate the work of a global network. The diversity of the team – which comprises women from Pakistan, Italy, Sweden, Nigeria, and England as well as people of Christian, Muslim and atheist orientations – is in itself a reflection of what WLUML is all about, namely bringing a diverse range of women with their different life experiences together, across national borders, questioning and overcoming existing gender orders together, and demanding gender justice. Women Living Under Muslim Laws is a name that invokes a variety of associations. However, behind these five carefully chosen words is a clear message.
International: Amnesty publishes new report on rape, sexual violence, and the ICC
In this new document, Amnesty International presents the case for incorporating human rights laws and standards in the prosecution of rape and sexual violence in international and national courts. In particular, the International Criminal Court (ICC) must do so as a requirement of its own statute.
Iraq: Event – ‘Breaking the silence’: women & violence in Iraq today
Marking International Women’s Month and 8 years since the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq (March 2003), the UK based group of Iraqi and non-Iraqi women Act Together – Women’s Action for Iraq held a talk on 22 March at SOAS on women and violence in Iraq today. Professor Nadje Al-Ali and Dr Nicola Pratt presented some of the latest research findings on gender-based violence and the issues women are facing in Iraq at present. With the numbers of civilians who have lost their lives since the war begun still being contested, they both feel the need to draw attention to the human side of the story behind these numbers, especially when it comes to women’s experiences and ordeals, nowadays seldom reported and studied.
Iraq: Letter to Officials: Kidnapping and Torture of Youth Activist
MADRE’s Executive Director Yifat Susskind and Yanar Mohammed, the Executive Director of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), have written this letter to Iraqi officials in response to the kidnapping and torture of youth activist, Alaa Nabil. To download a PDF of this letter, please click here.
Iran: List of imprisoned Iranian women exposes extent of discrimination
Iranian women are exposed to a variety of discriminations with charges ranging from gender-related and ethnic issues over religious and political beliefs to the defense of their own rights and those of underprivileged groups within the Islamic Republic of Iran.On the occasion of the 100th International Women’s Day we publish a list of imprisoned Iranian women to expose the extent of this discrimination. As to the prisoners of conscience the two most vulnerable groups are the religious minorities of Baha’i and Christians, both persecuted relentlessly as they pose a serious challenge to the autocratic Islamist system. With regards to ethnic discriminations members of the Kurd and Baluchi minorities are most endangered.
Iran: Endorse Nomination of Iran’s General Prosecutor for International Bludgeon Award
The Gender Justice Uncovered 2010 Awards ask us to “Seek to identify the best and worst decisions or statements related to gender made in English, Spanish or Portuguese within a judicial process. A jury, made up of three renowned figures will choose the “Gavel” and the “Bludgeon” decisions. The three most sexist decisions will receive bronze, silver and gold Bludgeons and the three decisions that best promote gender equality will receive bronze, silver and gold Gavels. The People’s Choice Awards will be given based on the votes from the public. Those who nominate the winners of the People’s Choice Awards will be invited to attend the Awards ceremony in Madrid. Deadline to nominate: April 4, 2011; Deadline to vote: April 25, 2011; The winners will be announced on June 2, 2011 at a very special ceremony!” Justice For Iran has nominated Ayatollah Mohseni Ejei, Iran’s general prosecutor and the majority of Iranian Supreme Court because of their recent unfair and discriminatory decision which discredit women’s right for divorce based on the marriage contract’s conditions.
Ivory Coast: Fears the country is sliding into civil war
On Tuesday four people were killed during a women’s protest march against Ivory Coast’s former president Laurent Gbagbo. Last week, another all-women march through the capital Abidjan, in support of the internationally recognised president of the country, was directly fired upon by troops loyal to Gbagbo and seven women peacefully exercising their democratic right of public assembly were killed.
Libya/UN: GA unanimously suspends Libya from HRC
At a historic General Assembly session this afternoon, the GA voted, by consensus, to suspend Libya’s membership in the Human Rights Council. In her remarks, Ambassador Rice said, “This unprecedented action sends another clear warning to Mr. Qadhafi and those who still stand by him: they must stop the killing. When the only way a leader can cling to power is by grossly and systematically violating his own people’s human rights, he has lost any legitimacy to rule. He must go, and he must go now.” Rice also spoke to reporters after the vote.
Libya: International court to investigate Qadhafi regime for crimes against humanity
The International Criminal Court (ICC) will investigate Libyan President Muammar Al-Qadhafi’s regime for crimes against humanity in repressing peaceful protesters, as a top United Nations official today called for global action to avert a humanitarian disaster inside the country. ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said today preliminary examination of available information shows that an investigation is warranted after the Security Council last week asked him to look into the violent repression in which more than 1,000 people are reported to have been killed and many more injured as Mr. Qadhafi’s loyalists opened fire on peaceful civilians demanding his ouster.
Libya: The women fighting and organising the revolution
In a bare, shabby side room in Benghazi’s central courthouse, the hub of pro-democracy Libyan operations, Salwa Bugaighis talks animatedly, hardly flinching as gunshots ring out from the raucous crowds outside. They, like her, are in a mood that veers between celebration and defiance to anxiety. They flood the area of the seafront, which is littered with boards displaying caricatures of the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Qaddafi and stalls selling souvenirs since the eastern part of the country was liberated on February 20.
Libya: Women Against Fundamentalism statement on Al-Obedi
WAF is deeply concerned about the fate of Iman Al Obeidi, the Libyan woman who tried to expose rape as a war crime by telling her own story and that of her friends to the international press in the Rixos Hotel, Tripoli, on March 26th 2011. Since then she has been detained and then slandered on Libyan TV, and various contradictory stories have been told about her to the international press. She is now herself accused of slander.
Libya: Iman al-Obeidi faces criminal charges over Libya rape claim
The Libyan woman who burst into a Tripoli hotel to tell western reporters she had been raped by Muammar Gaddafi’s militiamen is now facing criminal charges herself, a government spokesman said. Iman al-Obeidi was detained on Saturday after she entered the capital’s Rixos al-Nasr hotel and told journalists she had been beaten and repeatedly raped by 15 troops at a checkpoint. With TV cameras rolling, she was tackled by waitresses, security men and government minders and dragged away struggling. At least two journalists were beaten or punched in the fracas.
Libya: Release Women Human Rights Defender and victim of rape, Iman al-Obeidi
The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network joins other human rights organizations and civil society groups calling for the Libyan authorities to immediately release 29 year-old lawyer and defender of women’s human rights, Iman Al-Obeidi. We also demand that those who have allegedly subjected her to a violent sexual assault, and false imprisonment, be brought to trial following a thorough and independent investigation. On Saturday 26 March, Al-Obeidi approached a group of foreign reporters in a hotel in Tripoli, and in a state of considerable distress, she told them she had been repeatedly raped by Muammar Gaddafi’s militiamen. In an effort to silence her and in front of rolling television cameras Al-Obeidi was attacked and dragged away by government officials. Al-Obeidi is now facing criminal charges herself, according to a government spokesman. Her parents say their daughter is being held hostage at the Libyan leader’s compound in Tripoli.
Malaysia: UPDATE: SIS welcomes withdrawal of appeal by Malaysian Assembly of Mosque Youth
Sisters in Islam (SIS) welcomes the withdrawal of the appeal by Dewan Pemuda Masjid Malaysia (Malaysian Assembly of Mosque Youth, MAMY) against the High Court decision to strike off MAMY’s application for a court order to stop SIS from using its pen-name, ‘Sisters in Islam’. SIS maintains its position on the importance of civil dialogue to address differences of opinions in any democratic society, and remains concerned over the use of police reports and frivolous suits as intimidation tactics to silence progressive voices. Update to Malaysia: Sisters in Islam get to keep name
Malaysia: Founder of Sisters In Islam (SIS) among world’s ‘100 most inspiring people’
Two prominent Malaysian women have been included in a New York-based global advocacy’s list of 100 most inspiring people around the world for their work in advocating the rights of women and girls. Zainah Anwar – who founded Sisters In Islam (SIS) and is the project director of Musawah, an international collaborative group for equality and justice in the Muslim family – and blogger, women’s rights and HIV/AIDS awareness advocate Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir were named in the list put out by Women Deliver.
Malaysia: Can Muslim women walk tall again?
Celebrations for International Women’s Day on March 8 and the days leading up to it were as diverse as Malaysian women themselves. There were concerts, dinner theatre shows, workshops, readings and, if you had followed Sisters in Islam (SIS) and the Musawah Young Women’s Caucus, a pleasant stroll through Taman Jaya. But the placards carried by the women participating in the SIS and Musawah event indicated that it’s no walk in the park for these two organisations in their work to improve the lot of Muslim women. “One Husband = One Wife”, “No Religion Condones Violence”, “Women’s Rights = Human Rights”, said the signs the women carried on their chests and backs and across their arms.
Pakistan: Minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti assassinated in Islamabad
Gunmen shot and killed Pakistan’s government minister for religious minorities on Wednesday, the latest attack on a high-profile Pakistani figure who had urged reforming harsh blasphemy laws that impose the death penalty for insulting Islam. Shahbaz Bhatti was on his way to work in Islamabad when unknown gunmen riddled his car with bullets, police officer Mohmmad Iqbal said. The minister arrived dead at Shifa Hospital and his driver was also wounded badly, hospital spokesman Asmatullah Qureshi said.
Sudan: Female protestors arrested, beaten as world marks International Women’s Day
Sudanese anti-riot police on Tuesday arrested and beat dozens of women activists shortly after they attempted to stage a protest in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman against the alleged rape of a young female activist last month and right abuses, manifesting Khartoum’s growing anxiety over dissent. Women protestors gathered in a public square in central Omdurman on Tuesday and lifted banners demanding the authorities to cease “violence against women,” citing the case Saffiya Ishaq, a young female activist who appeared in a Youtube video last month accusing members of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services of gang-raping her after she participated in anti-government protests late in January.
Sudan: No to Women Suppression Initiative Statement
To the people of Sudan: First we salute the bravery and grace of the young Sudanese women who came out and reported and gave evidence to the atrocious and savage sexual harassment they suffered at the hand of elements of Sudanese security organs. We address you today with a feeling of bitterness and anger for the gross violation of the constitutional and human rights of women and the low level of official treatment directed at them in Sudan. We have all seen and read in the media the statements of many women and how they were sexually harassed and intimidated and some were actually raped as a result of their participation in the peaceful demonstration instigated recently by Sudanese people demanding legitimate demands upheld by the constitution. They were faced by a brutal and inhuman treatment encompassed in the draconian and savage piece of law called (Public Order Law) and other Sudanese laws that degrades and disrespects the rights of women in particular and extend to all rights of Sudanese citizens.
Syria: Sexism in the System
A presidential decree issued at the beginning of 2011 made long-awaited changes to the country’s criminal law, which dates to 1949 and contains numerous provisions considered prejudicial towards women. But while the amendments are a step forward, local activists say they do not go far enough.
Syria: Violence has to stop NOW regardless of who commits it
During the events of the past few weeks, violence has manifested itself in its ugliest forms, as practiced by some and threatened by others. Putting aside the aims of the various factions involved, the SWO, in keeping with its commitment to its motto “For a Society Free of Violence and Discrimination,” condemns the use of violence by state forces and protestors alike, as well as the threats of violence by some who claim to be representing a “tribe” (as if we are living in a tribal era!). The SWO considers this to be barbaric behavior that utterly contradicts with the notions of citizenship, modern statehood, freedom, democracy, and all other humanist practices. Such behavior only begets more violence, leading to destructive consequences for the entire society. Its continuation would be a big step backwards for Syria.
Syria: International civil society organizations call for immediate implementation of reforms
Over the past 12 days, peaceful protests in Syria have been faced with violence. The blood of too many people was spilled and others were arrested and beaten by security forces. As long as this violence goes on, the Syrian government’s legitimacy will diminish by the day both in the eyes of the Syrian people as in the eyes of the international community.
Pakistan: Inter-University Film Festival ‘Violence is not our Culture’
Shirkat Gah (SG) organized an inter-university film festival on Thursday, 3rd of March 2011 at the Ali Institute of Education, as part of its campaign titled ‘Violence is not our Culture’. This event also marked 100 years of International Women’s Day (1911-2011). The event was attended by university students, Civil Society and NGO members as well as people from all walks of life.
Palestine: 250 Palestinian & Israeli women in West Bank Civil Disobedience Conference
On March 12, 2011, women human rights defenders from Palestine and Israel marked the centenary of International Women’s Day with a historic conference at which the following contributions were made: Ilana Hammerman: The “Entry to Israel” law is illegal and should not be obeyed; and Rivka Sum: The attack in Itamar proves that we should continue to work daily together to end the impossible occupation.
UK: London imam subjected to death threats for supporting evolution
An imam of an east London mosque has been subject to death threats and intimidation for expressing his views on evolution and women’s right to refuse the veil. Dr Usama Hasan, vice-chairman at Leyton mosque and a senior lecturer in engineering at Middlesex University, ceased delivering Friday prayers after 25 years of service when 50 Muslim protesters disrupted his lecture by handing out leaflets against him and shouting in the mosque for his execution. A statement from the secretary of the mosque, Mohammad Sethi, that was leaked to extremist websites, said Hasan had been suspended after his lecture resulted in “considerable antagonism” from the community and for his “belief that Muslim women are allowed to uncover their hair in public”.
UK: Support Usama Hasan and Freedom of Conscience within Islam
[Statement from City Circle] In recent months, it has been very distressing for us to watch Dr Usama Hasan, a core member of City Circle’s management team who has also served with distinction as our Director, endure a nasty, intolerant campaign to remove him as an imam from his boyhood mosque and to cast him outside of the fold of Islam on account of views he has expressed as a scholar and a scientist in good faith and conviction.
UN: “Defamation” & “denigration” of religions at the 16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Letter from Civil Society Organizations to State Representatives: Excellency, We are writing to you to strongly urge your government to actively engage in the negotiations on the resolution on “combating defamation of religions”/”combating religious hatred and denigration of religions” at the 16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (“the Council”) that is currently taking place. Specifically, we urge your government to vote against any resolution which refers to “defamation of religions” or similar terms such as “vilification” and “denigration” of religions and religious symbols, and support a resolution which omits such terms and focuses on freedom of expression, freedom of religion and non-discrimination in ways that properly reflect international human rights standards.
UN: Statement on Women Human Rights Defenders’ Report of the UNSR
The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders recently produced this report on the the situation of women human rights defenders. In response, the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, of which MADRE is a member, produced this statement that was read at the Human Rights Council.
UN: Oral Statement at HRC 16th session: IWRAW Asia Pacific, Shirkat Gah – Pakistan & VNC
Thank you Mr. President. I am delivering this statement on behalf of Shirkat Gah – Pakistan, Baobab for Women’s Human Rights –Nigeria, IWRAW Asia Pacific, Partners for Law in Development – India, and the Violence is Not our Culture campaign. The Vienna Declaration and Program of Action affirms that “the human rights of women and of the girl-child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights”. It prioritises the full and equal participation of women in all dimensions of their lives. It calls for the eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex as a priority objective of the international community. It considers that acts of gender-based violence, including those resulting from cultural prejudice, are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person, and must be eliminated. Coupled with the fact that 186 members States of the UN have also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, States are legally obligated to ensure that the social causes of inequality and discrimination against women are eliminated, including those based on social and cultural patterns of conduct that are premised on the inferior or subordinate status of women in family and in public life.
UN: Special Rapporteur has been appointed for Iran
A Special Rapporteur has been appointed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate the situation in Iran. When asked how this would affect the situation in Iran, human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr told Arseh Sevom that the reports of previous Special Rapporteurs (Galindopole and Copithorne), appointed before the establishment of the UNHRC, had a positive effect on the conditions in the country, particularly on those of political prisoners.
WLUML networkers celebrate International Women’s Day 2011
On International Women’s Day 2011, WLUML would like to share a few of the many successes and struggles of our networkers across the world: from Malaysia, Sudan, Pakistan and Egypt.
Yemen: Interview with Amal Basha, Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights
In what ways are women participating in the protests in Yemen? The leading force behind this movement are the students from Sana’a University. They are gathered in Al-Huriya Square (Freedom Square) in front of the University. Women and women’s organisations are participating in the demonstrations and supporting the demonstrators, they stay until late at night in Freedom Square. In general, the students are protecting the women who are demonstrating on the square. Women are not generally targeted by the security forces in the repression of the protests because there would be an outcry. One woman demonstrator was arrested and imprisoned a couple of weeks ago, but she was released after one night, because we protested.