Egypt's president acknowledged the widespread problem of sexual harassment in his country yesterday, ordering his interior minister to investigate a rash of assaults during a just-completed Muslim holiday.
Mohammed Morsi acted after his government reported 735 police complaints about sexual harassment over the four-day Eid al-Adha holiday, which ended on Monday.
Morsi stressed the need to fight "all phenomena of moral chaos and abuses, especially harassment in Egyptian streets," spokesman Yasser Ali said in a statement.
The holiday features celebrations, crowded public squares, and widespread harassment of women by men.
Rights activists have faulted Morsi's Islamist government for failing to take action against the wave of sexual assaults. Earlier this month, around 200 activists gathered outside the presidential palace, chanting slogans against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood pressing for a law to criminalise harassment. Morsi's order yesterday appeared to be an attempt to counter the charges of activists.