Manar Ammar’s testimony
I went to cover news of the demonstration for the website I write for. I walked from Zamalek to Issaaf to catch up with the march. The traffic was very bad and we were running late.
We got to Issaaf Square at about 5 pm, and something wasn’t right from the beginning. But we had been to the previous march, which was tough and people attacked us with water and stones, so we thought this was going to be the same thing
But when we got to Abdel-Moneim Riad Square, we heard lots of gunshots. So we started running towards Maspero, and when we got to the Ramses Hilton, there were hundred [sic] of people running from the direction of Maspero. Many women screaming and children crying, and everyone saying the army shot at us. [We carried on] towards Maspero and kind people tried to stop us, but we walked on until the gunshots resumed.
The gunshots were continuous and sounded like they were coming from machine guns. I called someone I know from the Maspero Youth group, and he said that there were many deaths and advised me not to go to Maspero. He and about 60 others were hiding in the entrance of the mall.
There were many injuries among them. [I could hear] people screaming and saying, we were shot, they ran over our sons with tanks.
We were still unable to get to Maspero because of the sound of gunshots and people running. That was when I saw the first martyr. He was being carried on a motorcycle and his face was covered in blood. There was blood everywhere, on the pavement, on people’s clothes, on the cars and walls.
More dead bodies started to appear, and I wasn’t able to think anymore, I was just trying not to break down and cry. But we saw so many people completely crushed.
Then the tear gas started. Some people were carrying a man they thought was dead and taking him to Tahrir. We followed them.
Tahrir and Abdel-Moneim Riad were still empty. When we got to Tahrir, it turned out the man wasn’t dead and he regained consciousness. He was put in a car and taken to hospital.
About an hour later we went back to Abdel-Moneim Riad, and it was like a war zone.
There were people on the bridge throwing stones, the army was using a ridiculous amount of tear gas, and Central Security Forces were chasing people at the beginning of the bridge.
Numbers increased by the thousands, and all the while I still did not know that the hate-mongering state TV was spreading lies and false news.
I saw nothing with the protesters but crosses and paper [placards].
Everyone I talked to confirmed that the demonstration was unarmed.
It was full of women and children, whole families were taking part.
I talked to one man who was badly injured and said that he was attacked by thugs from Bulaq. They attacked him when they saw him trying to carry the body of a man killed by the army under Issaaf Bridge.
They beat him severely. He’s a Muslim, and the attackers were Salafis. He was badly injured and did not want to go to hospital for fear of getting arrested there.
Others told me there were rumours that Christians were burning the Quran, and Muslims had come out to defend their religion.
Anyway, we stayed in manoeuvres with the police and the army until 11pm.
They had blocked many streets in downtown, and there were random beatings of anyone trying to get away.
Another thing I wish to add is that walking home by Maspero at 11.30pm, there were suspicious looking people, and army personnel seemed to be lustful for vengeance.
There were many people cursing Christians, and because I’m not veiled they thought I was one, and one guy threatened to kill me if I took any pictures.
People were very aggressive, threatening and rude, and the army was completely passive.
We went home, and it was the worst night of my life.
As a neutral observer, I want to confirm that I haven’t seen anyone armed except for army and police. People (civilians) did not have weapons. And we were attacked by the army and the extremists who had believed the state media.