- (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
Violent clashes between women and soldiers in Egypt has led to U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton’s condemnation of the military, a diplomatic move which Egypt sees as “interference.”
The clashes, which began last Dec. 16, quickly escalated into violent exchanges between civilian protesters and the military. The clashes were initiated when soldiers attempted to break up a group of sit-in protesters, who were urging a hasty push for a democratic government.
One particularly disturbing video surfaced on YouTube Sunday, showing Egyptian soldiers dragging and beating a half-naked female as she lay helpless on the ground.
Clinton delivered a speech Monday, condemning the military's use of force against demonstrators.
“This systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonors the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform, and is not worthy of a great people,” Clinton said.
Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr rebuffed Clinton’s comments Wednesday.
Egypt's state news agency quoted Amr as saying, “Egypt does not accept any interference in its internal affairs and conducts communications and clarifications concerning statements made by foreign officials.”
Although Egypt’s government did not appreciate international commentary, it did apologize for the brutal beatings, saying in a statement Tuesday: “The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces expresses its utmost sorrow for the great women of Egypt, for the violations that took place during the recent events.”
The clashes, which subsided Wednesday in light of the second round of parliamentary run-off elections, show the peoples’ continued desire for a democratic government.
The leading political party in the elections, the Muslim Brotherhood, came out Thursday to say that it wants to stick to the military’s timetable for a governmental shift in power. The Brotherhood's stated desire clashes with that of protesters’ demands for a presidential veto, which would put an end to military rule before July.
“I think that is better than arranging it as soon as possible because this may create chaos,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy head Essam el-Erian told Reuters.