Demonstration for Women's Equality in Egypt Turns Violent

The International Women's Day protest in Tahrir Square incites male anger

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Update: Today, hundreds of thousands of women gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square to march in honor of International Women's Day. The march took on a more political tone than a celebratory one from the start, as the women "lined the sidewalks directly across from the square, holding up signs and banners demanding equality and a say in the ongoing constitutional amendments," reports Ali Abdel Mohsen for Al-Masry Al-Youm. But early today, tweets from reputable sources such as Shadi Hamid at the Brookings Doha Center and The Atlantic's Garance Franke Ruta, suggested the women's political pleas had been met with aggression from a group of men forming at the square.

As more accounts from the scene have been gathered, we now have a better understanding of what took place. According to Mohsen, the male crowd became particularly angry when the women's demands were mistinterpreted "as a call for a female president. [Men] proceeded to spread the message through the crowds, with the apparent intention of inciting anger--a strategy that, unfortunately, seemed to work."

What started out as jeering and name-calling reportedly evolved to men pushing and even punching some of the women. Once away from the madness, Mohsen reports, several women "claimed to have been repeatedly groped, while others reported their purses had been snatched."

Today's disrupted demonstration comes one day after the swearing-in of Egypt's new cabinet which included only one female member in the country's brand new government.

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