London: At least 25 women were sexually assaulted during clashes in Tahrir Square amid ongoing civil unrest in Egypt, local women’s rights campaigners have said.
In a typical attack, crowds of men quickly surround isolated women, groping them and attempting to remove their clothes.
According to the Guardian, the campaigners said that some women were stripped naked and one was even raped.
Since Thursday, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets in 12 of the country’s 21 provinces to protest against President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, and police brutality – two years after the start of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak, the report said.
Last night Morsi declared a 30-day state of emergency and curfew in the three Suez canal provinces – Port Said, Ismailiya and Suez – which are hit hardest by the latest wave of political violence.
According to the report, the president vowed in a televised address on Sunday last night that he would not hesitate to take more action to stem the latest eruption of violence across much of the country.
But at the same time, he sought to reassure Egyptians that his latest moves would not plunge the country back into authoritarianism.
More than 40 people have died and more than 500 have been injured in clashes in cities including Alexandra, Suez and Mahalla in the past four days.
For four days in Cairo, police armed with teargas have clashed with stone-throwing protesters in and around the crowded Tahrir Square, where the sexual assaults are reported to have taken place.
This week, a woman raped near Tahrir Square in November published a harrowing online account of her experience.
According to a 2008 report by the Egyptian Centre for Women``s Rights, 83 percent of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment, and the problem is exacerbated by a failure to prosecute the perpetrators, the report added.