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The United States has condemned police brutality and sexual harassment aimed at protesters over the past week during demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsy that coincided with the second anniversary of the 25 January 2011 uprising.
“We strongly condemn the recent violence and the attacks that have taken place in Egypt. We are extremely disturbed by these incidents, including sexual assaults against women and the beating of a defenseless man last week,” State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said during a press briefing on Monday.
“Egyptians participated in their revolution in order to bring democracy, in order to bring rule of law and freedom for all, not more violence, not sexual assaults, not looting,” Nuland added. “And all Egyptians, regardless of gender, political affiliation, or religion, deserve the right to safe assembly in public without fear of violence. And we call on the Egyptian Government to make that possible.”
Nuland also demanded that the Egyptian government conduct investigations and ensure official accountability for assaults against protesters.
At least 59 people have been killed and hundreds of others have been injured throughout the country in the country’s latest turmoil. Demonstrations marking the second anniversary of the 25 January uprising turned into protests against Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Protests also broke out in Port Said and other cities along the Suez Canal after a court verdict sentencing 21 defendants in the Port Said football violence trial to death.
A video clip circulated earlier this week showed a civilian, Hamada Saber, being stripped naked, dragged and beaten by police forces during clashes between anti-Morsy protesters and security outside the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace.
Saber, 48, initially denied that police assaulted him, accusing protesters of initiating the attack. He later retracted his statements, saying they were made under duress, and blamed security forces.
The assault has fueled opposition members’ charges that the Interior Ministry’s human rights record has seen no improvement under Morsy.