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Ahmad Ibrahim’s testimony

شهادة أحمد إبراهيم باللغة العربية

I was following up with the march on Twitter through Lobna Darwish and decided to join when it arrives at Maspero, as I was coming from Nasr City, and also because I didn’t expect anything like that to happen. I wanted to go after that young man Ra’y was assaulted by the police while clearing the sit-in last Wednesday.

I arrived at Ramsis square at around 6 p.m. The road was closed by Central Security Forces (CSF) vehicles and police officers and all the cars were turning back.

I decided to walk to Maspero from there On Al-Galaa Street there were people standing in groups saying that Christians are dying at Maspero, but I couldn’t understand what was going on exactly. I tried calling Alfred Raouf and Lobna and other people there, but nobody picked up.

I noticed – it was as clear as daylight – that there were many informants on the street from the Al-Ahram building. I tensed up and started to run. On my way, I saw someone being carried by others, shot with a bullet in his leg near Al-Galaa hospital. I didn’t know if it was live ammunition or rubber bullets.

At the Issaaf station, I started seeing panicked people all telling me not to go there and that there’s lots of blood. People were crying. I found a woman sitting on the pavement in front of the Italian Consulate in Issaaf crying and saying “why are they doing this to us?” I tried to understand what happened from her, but all she said was that I shouldn’t go there. I told her I’m a Muslim, and that I have to go stand by my brothers and friends there. She swore by Jesus and begged me not to go. I patted her and went on my way.

Everyone was repeating the story of the armed personnel carrier running people over without any difference in details.

At the street right before Hilton I saw a few guys with clubs watching the people coming from Maspero’s direction.

This area was chaotic; people running with injured peple, others screaming, and others parked with their cars on the bridge… I decided to go through the Ramsis Hilton street, instead of through the Nile side and October Bridge – from Abdel Meneim Reyad – as there were battles and smoke and CSF men moving above.

The end of the Ramsis Hilton Street was completely blocked. Live ammunition was fired from Maspero… and this street is entirely filled with stores… injured people tried to hide inside with the help of others… a woman held on to me, she was looking for her son… I didn’t know what to do… I saw someone 5 meters away falling… we rushed over to find him bleeding from his thigh after hearing a shot fired from the last building near Maspero… we carried him… and people behind me were carrying other injured ones… and I saw someone firing bullets from the building at the front of the long street right next to Maspero… he was an Interior Ministry officer. And there was an ambulance at the end of the street from the other side, in front of the hotel. The ambulance didn’t want to take anyone, and after some futile arguments, the ambulance took him and some people rode with him. No ambulances showed up after that at all.

Until then, at around 7, the military police were the ones taking the lead of the entire scene… there were neither bombs nor thugs.

I met Nawara Negm at the juice store in front of the hotel, a lot of people were gathered around her at the time… youth from the Al-Masry Al-Horr movement started preparing a field clinic near the El-Gouna [bus company] office… we went to get utensils from a pharmacy on the same street, and I started directing people to where the field clinic is… and whomever was able to help, helped..

I left them for a while and went with Nawara towards the Nile. We arrived near Radioshack and saw the burnt up armored vehicle, and heard gunshots, and blood was everywhere. At this point, teargas was fired, and we ran for a while until we reached the Hilton entrance – the one next to Radioshack.

Teargas was increasing and they were fired over a long distance to reach Abdel Meneim Reyad Square.

We ran again away from the gas till we reached the bus stop, and that’s when the CSF started going up the bridge… and the firing reached Abdel Meneim Reyad Square, and the CSF threw rocks… and that’s where I saw Rasha Azab and Azza Shaaban and Lina Megahed… they were choking on teargas… we ran together till we reached El-Gouna office, and people started to break the pavement and carry rocks and throw them at the CSF who wanted to go down the bridge.

Thugs started appearing from behind them at around 8, and at the same time a demonstration was gathered up and started chanting… against the Field Marshal… and “Muslims and Christians are one hand”… A sheikh carrying a cross was lifted up… and people were chanting against SCAF and the Field Marshal… people coming from the Hilton street were also chanting.

Rock throwing and teargas continued in this area for about half an hour, and I noticed that the teargas shot from the Nile reached the square itself… people were suffocating from the gas… and we saw some soldiers in the area below the October bridge – at the Abdel Meneim Reyad bus station – and we didn’t know if they were coming to hit us or to block the road or cordon it or what..

Until that time, which was about 8:30, it was obvious who we were… there wasn’t any strange behavior… and from that time, the army almost disappeared from this area, and CSF took the lead.

With the increase in the beating, we retreated backwards, and we saw, at that moment, thugs coming out of the side streets with knives and weapons.

Rubber bullets started from a distance and me and friend of Nawara Negm’s got two bullets in our arms, but because they were fired long distance, we weren’t injured.

The battle at that moment was between us and thugs, backed up by CSF behind them, and we were on the October bridge ramp at the side of the square… we retreated from the gas again and again and headed back toward Al-Galaa street.

We stood for a while behind the bus stop. A man from Upper Egypt came after Nawara and me and showed us a video of bodies thrown inside the entrance of the building next to Maspero. They were all completely disfigured, and a journalist showed me another video of an armored vehicle running over Copts.

An important notice: nobody around us at all at this point was saying anything about Copts killing army soldiers or anything of the sort.

Thugs started gesturing at us to leave and they started throwing rocks from above the bridge… I ran with Nawara and the people under the bridge to protect ourselves from the rocks, and thugs were after us till we reached Al-Issaaf.

We stood there and faced the thugs and threw rocks at them… we (myself and some others) were attacking from Boulaq Street with glass bottles and rocks, another group was being hit and arrived at Al-Galaa hospital… I think Nawara was with them, because I left her under the bridge near the consulate.

While gathering rocks from the street, I found people saying that Copts were killing soldiers, but none of them were carrying weapons or anything… they were watching the battle… vendors and microbuses left the street, and thugs came after us to Boulaq Street. There was some attack-and-retreat going on between both sides… we entered the street next to the electricity building and cut our way through from between the streets to come out near Al-Galaa hospital, thugs didn’t come all the way behind us.

I stood by a kiosk and got water cause I was hit by a rock. Here, people started saying that we should go to Tahrir, but I didn’t know if I should go back or forth… the thugs disappeared suddenly and it was about 9… I decided to go see what’s going on at Maspero…

I called Alaa Seif cause I heard he got hit in his stomach. He told me he’s at Maspero, and he sounded terrible, so I decided to go and see what’s there.

At this point, just before Abdel Meneim Reyad Square, there were a few thugs and someone in a galabeya [traditional dress worn by men]. They stopped a Seat car and beat up someone inside because he’s Christian. On the other side, thugs were blocking the turn that leads to the street where the journalists syndicate is. Anyway, I went on my way, and there was no more teargas, and the CSF were gone.

I met Alaa and Lilian Wagdy at Maspero, we stood for a while… and argued with some “honest citizens”… and someone asked us “Are you 6 April?”

Three CSF trucks appeared near the Hilton on the Maspero side, but there were no soldiers in them… and we thought they would run us over… but we went on our way heading toward Tahrir… we found Military police blocking the Tahrir entrance from the direction of the museum… and some people standing and chanting “The people want Sharia to be applied”, and the army was watching.

Abnormal tension and anxiety was all over the place, and people telling us to leave..

We turned around and went back toward Al-Issaaf Street, and decided to go to downtown after we discovered that we cannot enter Tahrir from there, and we walked on the street where the syndicate is [Abdel Khaleq Sarwat]. The streets were like Jan 26 and 28; no cars, and people blocking the streets, especially Maarouf Street.

After we got near Talaat Harb, we agreed to split. I left Alaa and his sister and walked with Alfred Raouf. I really felt bitterness rather than any pain or tiredness when Alfred told me that there’s a veiled girl we can walk behind, because we were frightened that anyone might attack us.

We went to Zamalek, and there were thugs scattered everywhere on our way… we made the taxi go around from Sabteyya Street, into Boulaq Street, going through 15 May bridge, and finally to Zamalek.

My Maspero testimony ends here. After I went home to change, Nawara called me and told me they needed blood at the Coptic hospital… and I apologize, but I’ll continue with what happened in Ramsis and the Coptic hospital in a different note because I want both testimonies separated.

Published on 12 October at 00:31 AM on the witness’s page on facebook under the title “My testimony on Maspero 9 October events” (in Arabic).

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