Men attack women's rights protesters in Tahrir Square

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of men have attacked a march by women demanding an end to sexual harassment in Egypt. They broke through a cordon of male supporters and groped and molested the women protestors in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the centre of last year's democracy protests.

Friday's march was called to demand an end to sexual assaults. Around 50 women participated, surrounded by a larger group of male supporters, who joined to hands to form a protective ring around them. The protesters chanted: "The Egyptian girl says it loudly, harassment is barbaric." As the marchers entered a crowded corner of the square, a group of men waded in, heckling and groping the women. Male supporters fought back. Eventually, the women were able to take refuge in a nearby building.

Mariam Abdel-Shahid, a 25-year-old cinema student who took part in the march, said: "Sexual harassment will only take us backwards... This is pressure on the woman to return home." During the 18-day uprising last year, women say they briefly experienced a "new Egypt" in Tahrir, with none of the harassment common in Cairo's streets.

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