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Anti-sexual assault protest held in Egypt's Tahrir Square

The protest was guarded by security forces, including female officers, as tens of demonstrators denounced recent sexual harassment accounts

Ahram Online , Wednesday 11 Jun 2014
sexual harassment
Men look at female protesters carrying signs against sexual harassment, after a woman was sexually assaulted by a mob during Sunday's celebrations marking the new president's inauguration, in Tahrir square in Cairo June 11, 2014. (Photo:Reuters)
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Tens of Egyptians marched around Tahrir Square on Wednesday afternoon to voice their objection to sexual assault against women in Egypt.

In a relatively new scene, the protesters – mostly women – were surrounded and protected by a number of security forces, including female officers.

The call for the protest came after a series of videos and testimonies surfaced on social networks of incidents of sexual assault that took place during celebrations for the election and inauguration of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi over the weekend.

Nine suspects are in police custody pending investigations into accusations of sexual harassment during subsequent celebrations of El-Sisi's victory.

El-Sisi has asked Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim to intervene to combat the country's sexual assault epidemic.

Protesters on Wednesday carried banners reading "harassers must be castrated" and "I am a harasser, I am an animal".

Incidents of mob sexual assaults have become an endemic problem during protests in Tahrir over the last three years. Frequent assaults and a general police absence have left activists to form anti-harassment groups to confront the problem themselves.

A recent law – the first of its kind – against sexual harassment was passed last week by former interim president Adly Mansour. It imposes stiff punishments on sexual harassers, including a minimum of six months in prison and hefty fines.

Sexual harassment against women is a rampant problem in Egypt. A United Nations survey from last year suggests that over 99 percent of Egyptian women have suffered some form of sexual harassment, from minor incidents to rape.

Another anti-sexual harassment protest – titled "Walk like an Egyptian Woman" – is also planned for this Saturday in front of Cairo Opera House.

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