So much for all the liberal hype about democracy in action and the brave new Egypt that was forming from the ashes of the fallen Mubarak regime. Tahrir Square, the scene of extensive media coverage during the anti-Mubarak demonstrations, was the venue for violence on Tuesday when about a 100 women dared to gather to proclaim that they too have an active role to play in Egypt’s New Jerusalem.
As part of International Women’s Day, several small groups of Egyptian women gathered in Tahrir Square to challenge the rampant sexual harassment that is endemic to Egyptian culture and to demand equality under the law.
As the women began marching, they were soon quickly surrounded my hundreds of men who heckled them with such forward thinking slogans as Go wash clothes! and This is against Islam! Some men politely argued with the women while others shouted at them. And then the vocal confrontations turned to physical ones.
Suddenly, the men decided the women had been there long enough. Yelling, they rushed aggressively upon the protest, pushing violently through the rows of women. The women scattered. Eyewitnesses said they saw three women being chased by the crowd. A surge of men followed them, and Army officers fired shots into the air to make the men retreat. Christian Science Monitor
Some women were shoved and groped while others were beaten. Several women were chased by gangs of males and had to be rescued by the military.
Does all this anti-female ferocity portend an Egypt that is taking a cultural leap into the 21st century? I think not.