Sex attacks against women in Tahrir Square alarm rights groups

A growing number of sex attacks against women protesting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square has alarmed rights groups in the city.

During a recent mass demonstration as many as 30 women suffered harassment and abuse, with one woman sexually assaulted with a knife.

The attacks follow a similar pattern.

Women are isolated and surrounded by groups of men who grope and abuse them, then attempt to remove their clothes.

Reports suggest such attacks are well planned and the mobs that carry them out are paid in order to

discourage women from taking part in protests.

Salma Tarzi is from the Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault group:

“In the past couple of months when we had big demonstrations, we had very severe and aggressive attacks. Our goal today is to try to stop the harrassment before it happens.”

Mixed-gender volunteer teams now patrol the square to assist any woman who comes under attack.