By Mahitab Assran
Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned of the possibility of escalating violence during protests especially if security forces continue to be absent.
In a statement published Tuesday, HRW condemned the absence of security forces who were supposed to protect protesters, regardless of political affiliation, saying: “The police and other security forces failed to deploy sufficient forces in key locations despite anticipation of widespread violence.”
The statement criticised the attacking of Muslim Brotherhood headquarters by anti-government protesters, and equally the armed retaliation of those defending the headquarters.
The statement deplored the 49 instances of gang rape and sexual assault of women it had recorded in Tahrir Square during recent protests.
The organisation also highlighted the plight of a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the stomach.
According to HRW, there have been 24 deaths and hundreds of injuries in recent days and although it said most of those injured were anti-Morsi protesters; pro-Morsi protesters had also been targeted.
The international group urged protesters on both sides to remain peaceful, especially given the absence of security forces.