CAIRO — A group of men attacked a women’s march against sexual harassment in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday and sexually assaulted several of the protesters, witnesses said.
The unknown assailants overwhelmed the march by dozens of women and male supporters and violently assaulted some of the women, the witnesses said. The march had been organised to denounce similar past assaults.
The protest took place amid a larger rally against former dictator Hosni Mubarak’s prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, a candidate in next week’s presidential election run-off.
Activists and the influential Muslim Brotherhood have staged several large rallies calling for Shafiq’s exclusion from the election and to denounce what they say were lenient court verdicts handed down to Mubarak and his security chiefs last week.
But the demonstrations in the protest hub, the epicentre of the revolt that ousted Mubarak last year, have been marred by reports of sexual harrasment and assault against some female protesters.
The assaults, which female protesters and journalists say are commonplace in Tahrir Square, had already gained notoriety after US journalist Lara Logan was sexually assaulted in the square on February 11 2011, the day Mubarak resigned.
Photo AFP, Mohammed Abed