After police raid in Cairo, advocates call for #SolidarityWithEgyptLGBT

Alarming news from Cairo, Egypt, broke today on Egyptian social media. Around three dozen men (the numbers vary from 26 to 40 depending on the source) were detained and arrested this Sunday night in a public bathhouse. According to American LGBT advocate Scott Long, the men were beaten in the baths, stripped naked and arrested, their clothes taken as evidence. The men were put in trucks, still undressed, and taken into custody. They are to be held for four days and are awaiting charges of debauchery.

According to Long, police forces received allegations about an "orgy" in the Hammam bathhouse by a pro-government journalist working for the al-Qahira wal Nas news channel, Mona Iraqi. Ms. Iraqi has confirmed this on her Facebook profile. However, she took the post down after couple of hours.

Yesterday's arrests are only the latest episode in Egypt's growing persecution of LGBT people. In September, seven Egyptian men were arrested and sentenced to prison for debauchery after appearing in a gay wedding video that was posted online this August. Egypt has no direct law prohibiting or criminalizing gay people. However, gay people are often discriminated against and charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

In reaction to the September arrests, a group of LGBT advocates has organized an online campaign to protest against the Egyptian government's persecution of LGBT people. The organizers are using Twitter hashtags #StandForEgyptLGBT and #SolidarityWithEgyptLGBT.