Around 200 women, many dressed in short skirts and shorts, gathered outside the National Theater in Kampala, Uganda, to protest against the continued harassment of women and girls considered to be "dressed indecently," according to the country's new laws.
The country's new anti-pornography law bans women from revealing their thighs, breasts and buttocks and from "dressing indecently in a manner to sexually excite."
The legislation to ban "indecent dressing" was proposed last year by Simon Lokodo, the Ethics and Integrity Minister, who said that women who wore "anything above the knee" should be arrested.
The law has sparked increased incidents of mobs of men publicly harassing, assaulting and undressing women for wearing short skirts in public places.
The new law has "really put women at risk in this country," Rita Achiro, executive director of the Uganda Women's Network, told the BBC.
Achiro said the new law would let men "judge women according to what they see as indecent because there are no parameters defined by law."
The "End Mini-Skirt Harassment" Facebook group that has over 4,000 likes, organized a march on Wednesday, Feb. 26, to end the sexual violence against women and to pressure the government to recall the law.
One of the event's organizers, Patience Akumu, said a police officer harassed her for wearing a short skirt when she went to seek permission to hold the demonstration.
Police officers dressed in riot gear were on patrol at the protest outside the National Theater.
Uganda's former Ethics and Integrity Minister, Miria Matembe, said that she, along with members of the End Miniskirt Harassment coalition and other women activists would move a vote of no confidence against Lokodo and demand for the law to be withdrawn.
Matembe told The Daily Monitor:
"This whole idea is absurd. I don't condone indecency or do I condone pornography but this law cannot be used as a pretext to cure the moral decadence and ethical degeneration in this country.
My biggest disappointment is that 33 per cent of that parliament is constituted of women and they were able to subscribe and pass a law whose definition of pornography is so vague that it talks about representing one's sexual parts for primarily exciting people."
Mildred Apenyo, a writer in Kampala, also rallied on social media to organize the march to end miniskirt harassment.
Apenyo referred to the public undressing of women on the streets of Uganda as "mob rape."
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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