Egypt's Military Carries Out Violent Attacks On Women Protesters


Egypt's military rulers continue carry out a brutal crackdown on protesters in Cairo. Fighting has been ongoing for the last several days, and more than 300 people have been injured and at least nine people have been killed. In a shocking scene yesterday, troops viciously attacked a crowd of protesters—in one case (seen in the video below) dragging a woman's body though the street and pulling off her shirt and hijab, leaving her bra and bare torso exposed.

The Washington Post reports that protestors have seized on that image as a sign of the hypocrisy of the generals in charge since Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office in February.

Protesters held up newspapers with the image of the half-stripped woman on the front page to passing cars, shouting sarcastically, "This is the army that is protecting us!"

The Post also describes another attack on a female protestor, Aya Emad.

[T]roops dragged her by her headscarf and hair into the Cabinet headquarters. The 24-year-old said soldiers kicked her on the ground, an officer shocked her with an electrical prod and another slapped her on the face, leaving her nose broken and her arm in a sling.

Similar horrors were reported by a journalist who was held by the military briefly in the parliament building:

Inside, he saw a group of detained young men and one woman. Each was surrounded by six or seven soldiers beating him or her with sticks or steel bars or giving electrical shocks with prods.

Activist Mona Seif described seeing an officer slapping an old woman in the face:

It was a humiliating scene. I have never seen this in my life.

For the moment, the violence shows no signs of abating. The military believes, following the recent parliament elections, that the Egyptian public wants an end to the protests and a return to stability. This seems to have emboldened the troops, who've had no hesitation in attacking the crowds gathered outside parliament and in Tahrir Square with cameras capturing their every move. This as the newly appointed Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri publicly denied that any violence was being used against the protestors.

But it remains to be seen how long the public will tolerate such brutal attacks. As Toqa Nosseir, a 19-year old student involved in the protests, said this of the violence:

No one can approve or accept what is happening here. The military council wants to silence all criticism. They want to hold on power ... I will not accept this humiliation just for the sake of stability.

Beating Protesters, Dragging Women In Street, Egypt Military Uses Heavy Hand To Crush Protest [Washington Post]
Leader Denies Use of Violence as Cairo Crackdown Persists [New York Times]
Video Shows Egyptian Soldiers Beating and Shooting at Protesters [New York Times]