London: Egypt’s ruling party is paying gangs of thugs to sexually assault women protesting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square against President Mohamed Mursi.
Activists said that the Muslim Brotherhood is paying gangs to beat up men who are taking part in the latest round of protests, which followed after Mursi gave himself sweeping new powers.
It comes as the Muslim Brotherhood co-ordinated a demonstration in support of Mursi, who is rushing through a constitution to try to defuse opposition fury over his newly expanded powers, the Daily Mail reports.
According to the report, thousands of people marched from around Cairo to Tahrir Square, chanting ``Constitution: Void!`` and ‘The people want to bring down the regime.``
Magda Adly, the director of the Nadeem Centre for Human Rights, said that under Mubarak, the government paid thugs to beat male protestors and sexually assault women, the report said.
“This is still happening now,” she told The Times, adding: “I believe thugs are being paid money to do this ... the Muslim Brotherhood have the same political approaches as Mubarak.”
One protestor, Yasmine, told the newspaper how she was physically abused while filming the demonstrations.
She said that before she knew what was happening, about 50 men had surrounded her and began grabbing her breasts.
She said they ripped off her clothes, starting with her headscarf and for nearly an hour, indecently assaulted her with their hands.
A few men tried to help her, but they were beaten away. Eventually some residents who had seen the attack from their windows came to her help and an elderly couple pulled her into their home.
Yasmine said she was almost sure the assault was planned. She managed to throw her camera to a friend and was able to watch the footage later.
Afaf el-Sayed, a journalist and activist, told the newspaper she was assaulted by a group of men while protesting in Tahrir Square just over a month ago and she was sure her attackers were ‘thugs from the Muslim Brotherhood’.
According to the report, most attacks take place in one particular corner of the square, at roughly the same time every evening, and usually start with a group of men forming a human chain around women as if to protect them.