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Egypt's women plan mass march against military rulers

Egyptian activists have called for a "Million Women March" tomorrow after accusing the military government of forgetting about the role of women in the uprising and maintaining a "backward" political system dominated by men.

Organisers of the march say that political changes being introduced by Egypt's Higher Military Council, which assumed power after the toppling of Hosni Mubarak last month, will entrench patriarchal systems of power which have dominated the region for years. "They are forgetting about women's role in the revolution," said Dina Abou El-Soud, a 35-year-old hostel owner who is helping organise the march. "I think it is because of the culture and how it used to be here."

The demonstration, which like many of the Middle East's pro-democracy protests is being organised on Facebook, comes after an army-appointed commission announced proposed changes to Egypt's constitution.

The amendments, which Egyptians will be asked to approve in a referendum on 19 March, include imposing two-term limits on presidential incumbents and ditching the stifling restrictions on who can be nominated to lead the country.

The nationwide poll on the proposals will come before presidential and parliamentary elections which are scheduled to take place within the next six months.

Protests continued elsewhere. In Bahrain, thousands of Shia opposition supporters blocked the entrance to the Prime Minister's office but failed to disrupt a government meeting yesterday as the campaign for reform in the strategic Gulf nation entered its third week. Bahrain's Shia majority has long complained of discrimination and political persecution in the nation, which is ruled by a Sunni dynasty.