Cairo ( Associated Press) — Egypt’s prosecutor ordered on Monday that 13 teenage boys arrested over the weekend and charged with harassing two female tourists at the Giza pyramids near Cairo remain in custody pending an investigation. .
The arrests came after a video surfaced on social media showing boys crowding around two young women at the famous archeological site, one of Egypt’s top tourist attractions.
The boys are seen making fun of the women and some press on them as they try to walk away. A woman turns and tries to push a boy away. It is not clear from the footage whether any of the boys groped the women or not. A voice is heard that the video should be sent to the Minister of Tourism.
The chief prosecutor’s office said a tour guide who filmed the incident from his smartphone has accused the teen of “verbally and physically” harassing the women.
The video has sparked outrage on social media in this Muslim-majority country, where sexual assault as well as sexual misconduct, ranging mostly from catcalls to the occasional quip or grabbing in public, is rampant.
According to a statement from the prosecutor’s office, the boys arrested are between 13 and 15 years old. The statement did not give any details about the female tourists.
If charged, the boys will be produced before the Juvenile Court.
Visitors to the pyramids at Giza and other famous Egyptian archeological sites are regularly harassed and followed by young men aggressively offering tours, souvenirs, carriage or camel rides.
The problem of sexual harassment in Egypt gained worldwide attention during and after the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, when women were harassed, groped – and in some cases, beaten up and sexually assaulted. Done – during the massive anti-government protests.
In recent years, women inspired by the #MeToo movement have spoken out about the problem on social media. Authorities have increased the penalty for sexual assault, which is now punishable by up to five years in prison. They have also stepped up efforts to tackle harassment and aggressive touts at tourist places.