Accessibility links

Egyptian Rights Activists Decry Mob Attacks on Women


An Egyptian women's rights group is calling on the government to increase security during major holidays, after a mob rampaged through the streets last week sexually assaulting women celebrating the end of Ramadan.

The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights and local news reports say a group of about 100 boys and young men rampaged down the main street in the Mohandiseen neighborhood of Cairo Thursday night. They molested women and tried to tear off their clothes.

The assaults took place on the second day of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a repeat of similar violence two years ago.

The women's rights organization urged Egyptian authorities to strengthen laws against sexual harassment. They praised police for arresting some of the offenders, but said more needs to be done to protect women from attacks.

Similar mass sexual assaults in downtown Cairo shocked the nation two years ago on the same holiday. That time, witnesses videotaped police standing by and doing nothing to stop the mob attacks. There have been other incidents since then, including after Egypt won a soccer tournament in February. But the Eid violence is the largest outbreak of mob sexual assault since 2006.

The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights published a study in July that found that 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women reported being sexually harassed. The same study said 62 percent of Egyptian men admitted to harassing women, and more than half blamed the female victims for the men's behavior.

XS
SM
MD
LG