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War on Gaza: Egyptian police disperse pro-Palestine Women's Day march in Cairo

The demonstration through central Cairo was held in response to a call for a Global Strike for women in Gaza
The small march was quickly dispersed by the police who made onlookers delete videos of the protest (X)
The small march was quickly dispersed by the police who made onlookers delete videos of the protest (X)

Egyptian security forces dispersed a women's pro-Palestine march in Cairo to mark International Women's Day on Friday.

Around 50 women gathered outside the Palestinian Women's Union in Cairo, and marched through the streets, chanting in solidarity with the “brave women of Palestine".

In a statement, the demonstrators said that they were responding to a call from women in Gaza for a "Global Strike Day for the Palestinian women of Gaza and their people."

"This invitation underscores a profound truth: there can be no feminist struggle without Gaza," the statement read.

"A feminist struggle devoid of Gaza is untenable. Our solidarity with Gaza is our form of resistance. We reject the war waged against women's bodies."

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"As women, we decided we need to do something to send a message that there is no real liberation for women until Palestine is free," a march participant, Ola Shahba, told Middle East Eye.

"That's the significance for us. It's exactly because it's International Women's Day.

'A feminist struggle devoid of Gaza is untenable. Our solidarity with Gaza is our form of resistance'

- women's protest statement

"We were sending a message to our fellow Palestinians, women and men, that they are not forgotten, of course, and that their struggle is ours as well," Shahba said.

Chants castigated the government for being a "partner to the siege" on Gaza and demanded the opening of the Rafah crossing into Gaza to allow badly needed aid to enter the strip.

The protesters also demanded an end to the "coordination scam" - a reference to the thousands of dollars Palestinians have to pay to an Egyptian state-linked company to leave Gaza via Egypt's Rafah.

"How many billions did you sell Gaza for?" they chanted.

The demonstrators also demanded the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Egypt.

The march lasted for about half an hour before it was quickly dispersed by security forces in civilian clothing and, according to eyewitnesses, made onlookers delete videos of the protest.

Egyptian protests for Gaza

Palestine solidarity protests erupted across Egypt after Israel began its ongoing assault on Gaza on 7 October.

On Friday 20 October, thousands rallied in Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the 18-day revolution of January 2011 that culminated in the resignation of then-President Hosni Mubarak.

Over 100 people were reportedly arrested following the nationwide protests, and since then expressions of Palestine solidarity have been restricted to small-scale rallies demanding the opening of the Rafah crossing and the entry of food and aid into Gaza.

On 30 December, four international activists were detained and held incommunicado for over 27 hours following a pro-Palestine protest outside the Egyptian foreign ministry in Cairo.

They had staged a rally outside the foreign ministry to demand security clearance for the Global Conscience Convoy - a humanitarian convoy into Gaza planned by Egypt's Journalist Syndicate to deliver badly needed aid to the besieged enclave.

Cairo women protest gaza
Women hold placards on the march through downtown Cairo (Rene Clement/X)

Egypt shares a border with Gaza but has so far only opened it intermittently for the entry of aid into the besieged territory.

All aid entering the besieged territory via the Rafah crossing from Egypt has to go through Israeli checks before being allowed to enter, with many aid trucks held up at the border.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Egypt Red Crescent Society has delivered 9,451 trucks to Gaza, containing more than 90,000 tons of food and water, and 25,000 tonnes of emergency material.

This does not match the huge need for aid among Gaza's population, a quarter of which is facing "inevitable famine", according to the UN.

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