Thousands of Egyptian women marched in Cairo last night in protest of treatment of female demonstrators in Tahrir Square.
Their chant was: “Drag me, strip me, my brothers’ blood will cover me! Where is the field marshal? The girls of Egypt are here.”
(The reference to “Field Marshal” ist ot FM Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.)
This is the lasrgest and most significant demonstration by women in Egypt in modern times, by a large margin.
The protest’s scale stunned even feminists here. In Egypt’s stiffly patriarchal culture, previous attempts to organize women’s events in Tahrir Square during this year’s protests almost always fizzled or, in one case in March, ended in the physical harassment of a small group of women by a larger crowd of men.
“It was amazing the number of women that came out from all over the place,” said Zeinab Abul-Magd, a historian who has studied women’s activism here. “I expected fewer than 300.”
Clashes between demonstrators and police over the last five days have killed 14 or more people.
During the protest, the Egyptian Military Council turned out a statement of regret over violations to women.
The council expressed “deep regret to the great women of Egypt” and affirmed “its respect and total appreciation” for women and their right to protest and take part in political life. It promised it was taking measures to punish those responsible for violations.