Dec 01, 2012 05:10 pm

As hundreds of thousands of protestors continue to gather in Tahrir Square, Egypt’s Islamist dominated assembly is bussing in its own, mostly male, pro-government protestors to an alternative location in the district of Giza, outside Cairo University. The anti-governments protestors have set up tents in the square, and armed themselves with wooden sticks and iron bars
in case of violence being used against them.

Meanwhile there have been reports of organised rape taking place in Tahrir Square in order to intimidate protests there. While sexual assaults on women were reported as taking place in Tahrir Square as long ago as last February, including that of the CBS journalist Laura Logan who was molested for over 30 minutes by a crowd of men, mob sex attacks against female protesters are said to have increased during the the past year. Activists say that nearly 20 attacks have taken place in the past ten days.

The sexual assaults take place at around the same time of day, and usually occur on the corner of Tahrir Square and Mohammed Mahmoud Street. It is being reported widely that Egypt’s ruling party is paying gangs of thugs to beat up men who are protesting against Mohamed Morsi and his latest decree giving himself sweeping new powers, and also to sexually assault women involved in the protests.

The director of the Nadeem Centre for Human Rights, Magda Adly, says that the state sponsored gang violence that occurred under Mubarak “is still happening now.” She says “thugs are being paid money to do this… the Muslim Brotherhood have the same political approaches as Mubarak.”

Men have admitted that they have been paid to target female protestors, saying that they operate in a group of around 65 local men and are paid between £10 and £20 a time. But they would not reveal who pays them.