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Egyptian protesters line up on cement blocks being used as a road barrier by the military in Cairo. AP Photo/Nasser Nasser/PA Images
Egypt

Egyptian ruler defends use of force as video emerges of woman being attacked by soldiers

Major General Adel Emara said the attack as an “isolated incident” and that the army has a duty to protect the state.

EGYPT’S ARMY has come under heavy criticism after footage emerged at the weekend of soldiers dragging and kicking a woman whose clothing was torn and pulled over her head to reveal her underwear.

In the video posted online, the woman is beaten by several soldiers and kicked in the head before two drag her away by her hands. Another soldier stamps on her chest before one of the troops attempts to cover her bare torso with her torn clothing.

Further footage and photos have also been released of soldiers beating protesters around the head and kicking them while prostrate on the ground or with their hands bound.

(Warning: Video contains violent images some viewers may find disturbing)

(Video via RussiaToday)

As least 14  people have died since the latest clashes broke out on Friday between protesters demonstrating against ongoing military rule and security forces. Parliamentary elections are still underway in the country.

Defending force

Yesterday, a member of the ruling military council defended the soldiers’ use of force and accused the media of attempting to “sabotage the state”.

Major General Adel Emara questioned protesters’ motives and morals. He said the army had a duty to protect the state, saying: “What are we supposed to do when protesters break the law? Should we invite people from abroad to govern our nation?”

“There is a methodical and premeditated plot to topple the state, but Egypt will not fall,” he added.

Emara described the aforementioned attack on the unarmed woman as an isolated incident that would be investigated.

This morning, police raided Cairo’s Tahrir Square – the focal point of the popular uprising which forced former leader Hosni Mubarak from power in February – in the latest effort to clear the area of protesters. According to a field hospital doctor, a 15-year-old boy is seriously injured after being shot in the chest.

The UN’s human rights chief Navi Pillay has condemned the violent suppression of protests in Egypt and said that some of those filmed abusing demonstrators at the weekend should be easily identified and prosecuted.

“The graphic images of protesters, including women, being brutally clubbed and assaulted, long after the point when they are showing any resistance, are utterly shocking,” Pillay said.

“People lying motionless on the ground are shown on film being smashed on the head and body with sticks. These are life-threatening and inhuman acts that cannot possibly be justified under the guise of restoration of security or crowd control.”

Reporters Without Borders has criticised what it describes as the military’s “systematic use of violence” against media workers, saying that several have come forward to say they were beaten by soldiers and had equipment destroyed or stolen.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Read more: More than 440 wounded during clashes in Egypt >

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