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Egypt asks YouTube to remove video of Tahrir Square sex assault that sparked public outrage

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CAIRO — Egypt has asked YouTube to remove a video of a woman being sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square during a rally supporting the country's newly elected president.

Presidential spokesman Ehab Badawy said in a statement that the Egyptian Embassy in Washington had made the request to YouTube, which is owned by Google Inc.

YouTube has removed copies of the video in which the woman can be identified, but is allowing other versions that blur her image to remain on the site because the company considers them to be newsworthy. Viewers who want to watch the blurred video also most vouch that they are at least 18 years old, according to YouTube.

"We respect an individual's right to privacy and have always removed videos entirely where there is a privacy complaint and an individual is clearly identifiable," YouTube said in a statement.

PHOTO: FILE- This combination of two photos shows graffiti of a woman with the words "no harassment," in Arabic, taken on June 23, 2012, left, and the addition by another artist, on Nov. 6, 2012 of a stick figure touching her backside, under a bridge in the upscale Zamalek neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptian police on Monday, June 9, 2014 arrested seven men for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old student during celebrations marking the inauguration of the country's new president in Cairo's central Tahrir Square the day before, security officials said. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)
FILE- This combination of two photos shows graffiti of a woman with the words "no harassment," in Arabic, taken on June 23, 2012, left, and the addition by another artist, on Nov. 6, 2012 of a stick figure touching her backside, under a bridge in the upscale Zamalek neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptian police on Monday, June 9, 2014 arrested seven men for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old student during celebrations marking the inauguration of the country's new president in Cairo's central Tahrir Square the day before, security officials said. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)

Badawy said late Thursday that the woman attacked asked President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi during a visit he made to her hospital room to have the video taken down.

In a video of the visit, the woman told the president: "My daughter watches it every day and collapses."

El-Sissi told her: "I have come to tell you and every Egyptian woman that I am sorry. I am apologizing to every Egyptian woman."

Sexual harassment has long been a problem in Egypt, but mob assaults have increased dramatically both in frequency and ferocity in the three years since the ouster of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Several women were assaulted during Sunday's inaugural festivities in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the 2011 revolt that toppled Mubarak, which has also seen numerous mob sexual assaults during demonstrations held there since.

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PHOTO: FILE- This combination of two photos shows graffiti of a woman with the words "no harassment," in Arabic, taken on June 23, 2012, left, and the addition by another artist, on Nov. 6, 2012 of a stick figure touching her backside, under a bridge in the upscale Zamalek neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt. Egyptian police on Monday, June 9, 2014 arrested seven men for sexually assaulting a 19-year-old student during celebrations marking the inauguration of the country's new president in Cairo's central Tahrir Square the day before, security officials said. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)
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