Warning: The content of the video in this story is of a violent nature and images disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
Egyptian police have arrested seven men for sexually assaulting women at celebrations marking President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s inauguration, after outrage sparked by a graphic video of the attacks which circulated on social networks.
The footage shows a crowd of men surrounding the young woman, who had been stripped of her clothes and beaten, as police escorted her to an ambulance after the Sunday attack on Cairo’s Tahrir Square – the center of the protests which toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Shared widely on social media websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, it appears to have been filmed using a mobile phone.
The video was authenticated by a security official, who said that police had arrested seven men for attacking and stripping the 19-year-old student, according to Agence France-Presse.
The woman was transferred to a hospital and prosecutors had been asked to investigate the attack, the official said, alleging the seven were also involved in three other cases of sexual harassment.
“Sexual harassment in Tahrir… is absolutely disgusting. I have no words. So appalled and ashamed,” said one Twitter user.
The Egyptian interior ministry said police had arrested seven men aged 16 to 49 as “they had (sexually) harassed a number of girls during the celebrations in the Tahrir area.”
It did not specify whether the seven were involved in the assault of the girl seen in the video.
“It is shameful that security officials from the interior ministry did not adopt any measures or security plans to prevent such assaults, despite the fact they have repeatedly occurred,” said the “I Saw Harassment” activist group.
It said it had documented five cases of sexual assault by mobs, with four victims needing medical aid on Sunday.
Egypt has been plagued by rampant sexual harassment cases, with more than 99 percent of women subjected to some form of such abuse, the United Nations said in a study issued last year.
Women in the North African country said that they are harassed regardless of whether they wear conservative Islamic attire or Western-style clothes.
But since the revolution that toppled long-time president Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the problem has worsened, with women now being regularly attacked during rallies by groups of men in and around Tahrir Square.
Last week, outgoing interim President Adly Mansour signed a law criminalizing sexual harassment. Those found guilty of the offence now face large fines and long jail terms.
On Saturday, an Egyptian martial arts instructor embroiled in asex scandal was sentenced to two years prison with hard labor for promoting vice after having sexual intercourse with women at a health club in the country’s Nile Delta.