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article imageEgyptian army apologizes for brutal attack on women demonstrators

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By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 21, 2011 in World
Cairo - Following demonstrations in Cairo after a footage of soldiers beating a young woman was made public, the army expressed "deep regret to the great women of Egypt" and assured them of its "respect and total appreciation [of] their right to protest.."
Channel News Asia reports that the shocking footage of soldiers dragging a veiled woman on the ground by the hair and stripping her as they attacked her with kicks and blows sparked off "deadly anti-military protests in Cairo for a fifth straight day." Thousands of women flanked by men marched through the streets of the city to the Tahrir Square to denounce the brutal attack and demand end to military rule.
San Francisco Chronicle reports that the demonstrations which began on Friday may have been the biggest women's demonstration in Egypt's history. Daily Mail reports that there may have been as many as 10,000 women in the streets of Cairo at the peak of the protests. The women chanted: "Drag me, strip me, my brothers' blood will cover me! Where is the field marshal? The girls of Egypt are here."
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) said it would take all "legal measures to hold accountable the people responsible for the violations."
But, according to Channel News Asia, the statement came only hours after forensic experts said that most of the people who died in the protests since Friday died of guns shot wounds, despite denials by the military that they fired on protesters. According to the health ministry, 14 people have died since Friday.
Daily Mail reports that on Monday, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces issued a statement that seemed to excuse the action of its soldiers. The statement by Major General Adel Emara, while saying that the Army does not "use force against protesters," also said that the protesters in Tahrir were "people seeking to destroy the state...not the honorable people of the January 25 revolution." The SCAF acknowledged that the veiled woman was brutally attacked, but said, "...you have to look at the circumstances around (the incident)...We are investigating it, we have nothing to hide."
San Francisco Chronicle reports Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday, addressing students at Georgetown University, condemned the attacks and accused the Egyptian authorities of failing women. She described the case of the woman who was stripped and beaten as "shocking." Clinton said: "This systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonors the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform, and is not worthy of a great people."
Retired General Abdelmoneim Kato, adviser to the military government, has also drawn heavy criticism for a statement credited to him. He is alleged to have said that the Tahrir demonstrators were "street kids who deserve to be thrown into Hitler's incinerators." Former UN nuclear watchdog official and presidential hopeful in Egypt Mohamed El Baradei, said the general's statement showed a "deranged and criminal state of mind."
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