A campaign launched by the Egyptian government to promote the World Youth Forum scheduled for Nov. 4-10 at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh appears to have backfired after internet activists hijacked the conference hashtag #WeNeedToTalk to highlight human rights abuses in the country under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime. The conference’s organizers had hoped the hashtag would encourage interaction among the participants ahead of the forum and promote Egypt as a safe tourist destination. Instead, the activists posted images of security forces assaulting and arresting youths at protest sites and shared portraits of jailed journalists, activists and others who have allegedly been tortured or forcibly disappeared. In recent weeks, a new wave of arrests has targeted members of Egypt’s LGBT community. Dozens suspected of being gay were rounded up and detained despite the fact that, to date, Egypt has no anti-homosexuality laws.
November 2 / Al-Monitor