Mohand Aborehab’s Testimony
I came out of work in the Maspiro area — behind Abdel Menem Riad Square, near the Ramsis Hilton — at around 6pm. The first thing I saw was throngs of Coptic protesters carrying crosses and heading to the Corniche in front of the Maspiro building. I stood for a few minutes watching the protesters, and noticed that the percentage of women among them was relatively high.
I walked up to the 6 October bridge to get a better view of the situation. The numbers were huge — there was barely a gap in the whole street. Then I heard gunfire to disperse the protesters, and just a minute or two later I was shocked by the sight of military tanks driving into the crowds at high speed without warning, all the way from in front of the Maspiro building to underneath the 6 October bridge, then turning around and hurtling back the same way, in what appeared to be an attempt to run over the protesters. (I hope whoever caught this on camera has posted it online.)
Anyway, they kept going like this — driving back and forth over people — several times, accompanied by the sound of gunfire. I’m not sure if it was live fire or sound bombs. I saw with my own eyes several protesters being crushed under the tanks. There were also other people injured, among them women. The protesters were dispersed and most fled to the area behind the bridge, in front of the Ramsis Hilton. Some of the young protesters remained, throwing rocks at the tanks and walking towards Maspero. A few minutes later I saw the same tanks that had been running people over, now in flames in front of Maspero. A few more minutes passed and then the army forces came back after the protesters, towards Abdel Menem Riad Square. At this point I moved from my spot, because some of the troops and tanks had come up onto the bridge. This was about 7pm. I walked towards Tahrir Square, and on my way I saw some of the young Coptic protesters in an uproar and a few individuals pelting public buses with rocks.
My personal observations:
First of all, the protesters were peaceful at the start. They did not resort to any violence until the tanks attacked in that insane, inexplicable, completely unjustified way.
Second, what I saw was not an attempt to disperse the protest, but to ignite the situation further. The armed forces, with their reckless actions, appeared to want to inflame the situation, not calm it down.
This, in short, is what I saw of the Maspero events on October 9, 2011 from 6 to 7pm, from the 6 October Bridge and near the Hilton Ramsis.
This is my testimony of what I saw with my eyes only, as God is my witness, just so I won’t be among those who keep the truth to themselves — so the truth won’t be lost among all the horns blowing falsehoods and sowing the seeds of discord.
To quote the Quran:
“And do not conceal what you have witnessed–for he who conceals it is sinful at heart.” (2: 283)
Published on the witness’s Facebook page on 9th of October, 2011 at 22:08, under the title “My testimony as an eyewitness on Maspero’s events 9/10 on the beginning of the troubles on the side of Hilton Ramses between 6 to 7 O’clock”