Ahmed Magdy’s Testimony
At first I wanted to express the extent of the sorrow I’m in, before I say anything, because the amount of hatred and malice that I saw today is enough to destroy the whole world. I saw enough duplicity, lies and deception from that thing they call national TV to make every Egyptian a quadriplegic.
Aside from my psychological state and the extent of my sorrow, I want to give my testimony to appease my conscience. To be honest, it was my friend Ahmed Mostafa’s idea. He told me that we all had to talk about what we saw today and give our testimonies.
I was at the newspaper. I was done work and could leave if I wanted to, but something made me stay and busy myself with anything, like I sensed that something was going to happen. I had to find out what it was. And indeed I heard that there was a huge march coming from Shubra Square heading to Maspero. We wrote a story about it. It honestly never crossed my mind that anything would happen other than that some people would curse at them and talk about “the wheel of production” and the rest of that lame talk, but I never thought it would come to killing, running people over or tear gas.
When I heard that thugs were firing at the march I didn’t believe it and thought that it was a false report for sure. Then everything got out of control and somebody called me and told me to turn on national TV because the demonstrators were setting fire to Maspero. No one would believe how glad I was, because that building needs to be set on fire 20 times in a row and it might still be the official building of fraud and deception. But when I turned on the TV there were just burning cars and tree branches and stuff like that but it was all far away from Maspero, so I decided to go and take the camera to photograph what happened. As soon as I got there by metro I walked to Abdel Moniem Raid Square and I smelled light tear gas. I got closer to take pictures of something that was burning and suddenly there was a tear gas bomb right by me. I got very ill and suffocated to the extent that I had to sit down and I couldn’t even run, but people helped me up and ran with me some distance away, washed my face with Pepsi and didn’t leave me till I was OK.
Then I tried to go somewhere with less tear gas but I couldn’t find anywhere, so I went up onto the October Bridge so I could see, and I found Central Security forces throwing rocks at the protestors below and with them were lots of civilians with clubs and sticks throwing rocks too.
From above I could see what the Central Security forces did if they caught someone who fell or something. I swear to God they’d step on his face with their boots and the civilians with them would drag him on the ground, kick his head exactly as if it was a football and beat him all over until he passed out, and then they would discuss whether to let him go or not. I couldn’t take pictures because I was on top of the Bridge, the scene too far away and the light too poor, plus I was standing alone near them. If they noticed me taking pictures they’d come and get me.
I got off the Bridge and joined the demonstrators who had originally come with the march to see what they were talking about and take pictures. I found them to be familiar faces and I knew a lot of them. I saw Nawara Negm, Alaa Abdel Fattah (El Shorouk columnist) Ramy Essam the singer, and I saw a lot of friends and many girls. I was certain that they were all civilized and peaceful; I didn’t see any weapons or anything. You might have seen one carrying a tree branch he broke off or a rock to defend himself with. Apart from that I swear to God I didn’t see any weapons, and also all the chants I heard were “Muslims and Christians are one hand” “Down with military rule” and things like that, without sectarian prejudice or any insult to anyone.
I filmed many videos, below, and was present during all the chasing to and fro. I tried to convince everyone to head to Tahrir Square, as that would be better than the pincers that could close on us. But no one listened. Suddenly everyone who was attacking the demonstrators disappeared and the way was clear to Maspero. The march proceeded there. As soon as we got there military police, who were standing silently before, started attacking anyone who was there with clubs. After we all ran back the Abdel Moniem Riad bus-stop I understood what happened and why the thugs disappeared and they let us lead that small march to Maspero. The army’s plan was to squeeze us so they could go and block the way to Tahrir and surround us from all sides. That is exactly what happened. Anyone who tried to head to Tahrir from Abdel Moneim Riad was pulverized. I saw a lot of injured today, ranging from minor to major injuries, but I truly didn’t know that people had been killed or run over. I just heard from people around me that a vehicle had run people over. I didn’t believe them and figured they were exaggerating and talking nonsense but when I went back to work to submit the videos and saw the photographs of the murdered and those whose faces had been crushed and heard that my comrade Mina Daniel of the Alliance Party had been killed, I was devastated. I’m in a terrible psychological state and feel really guilty.
Here are the videos I recorded:
Setting Abdel Moniem Riad Square on fire
Rami Essam the Singer chasing thugs on the 6th of October Bridge
Attacks and tear gas bombs in Abdel Moniem Riad Square
By: Ahmed Magdy, journalist at Tahrir Square Newspaper
Member of the Alliance of Socialist Youth