A journalist for France 24 has described how his female colleague was attacked and groped by a group of men while filming live during protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Friday night.

Sonia Dridi was surrounded while filming in the square, with the mob closing in on her as she was reporting. The news channel said in a statement that she was attacked at about 10.30pm.

This report aims to illustrate the ways in which the repressive policies of the past, especially those geared towards women human rights defenders (WHRDs) are still with us. Not only does this report illustrate the ways in which violations against WHRDs persist, but it also underlines the fact that the repressive practices undertaken by the state against WHRDs are escalating, especially under militarism. 

When Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was elected in late June, he promised to represent all Egyptians by forming a government inclusive of women, Christians, youth and even artists and intellectuals.

Although the president said he heard the voices of all Egyptians, the much-anticipated government announced last week has proven to be a disappointment for many as a setback to the ideals that propelled the revolution that last year toppled Hosni Mubarak.

A few days ago British journalist Natasha Smith published a long and anguished account of being sexually assaulted at the hands of a mob in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. She described how she was attacked by numerous men, her clothes torn off while she was beaten and groped as bystanders did nothing and those who tried to rescue her were set upon by the mob.

Violence against women demonstrators in Egypt erupted again on Tuesday when a frenzied mob of 200 men sexually assaulted a female protester in Tahrir Square. Then, during a rally on Friday to protest the incident, about 50 women and their male allies were themselves brutalized and chased away by another mob.

Women protesters and rights groups have accused Egyptian troops and prison authorities of sexual assault during the latest crackdown on demonstrations, reviving allegations they are using abuse to intimidate female detainees and protesters. The charges made on Wednesday added new tension to Egypt's presidential election campaign, just two weeks before the voting.

Egypt’s New Women Foundation said they are suing Islamist Parliament member Azza al-Garf over her pro-female genitals mutilation (FGM) statements. The women’s rights foundation sent a letter to the speaker of parliament Saad al-Katatny, informing him of legally going after Garf and asking for his permission to be allowed to take the MP to court.

A new council for women’s rights was established in Egypt a year after the Jan. 25 2011 revolution. Although it was harshly attacked by political activists for retaining the ideals of the wife of the former dictator, it is an important institution that works to protect the rights of women. It is perhaps the only official institution that attempts to give a voice to women, who are marginalized daily in the new Egypt, with many sectors attempting to sideline them from any vital role either socially or politically.

En Tunisie, en Egypte, en Libye, la conquête fulgurante du pouvoir par des mouvements islamistes, parrainés notamment par les pétromonarchies du Golfe, est sujette à suspicion. Le rapprochement avec l’Algérie est vite fait. L’implication du Qatar dans le soutien aux mouvements islamistes de tous bords (chiites ou sunnites, salafistes djihadistes ou Frères musulmans) ne date pas du Printemps arabe. Le nouveau code électoral et la loi sur les partis en Algérie ont sacrifié l’exigence de transparence des finances des formations politiques.

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