Mohannad Galal’s testimony
I hurried towards Maspero after I finished work and arrived after the military vehicle had been set on fire.
From the 26th July bridge, then to my left the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and on my way to Maspero on the Corniche – at first I thought I was with the revolutionaries, then suddenly I discovered I was with the thugs and rioters, because I found some of them encouraging the army to crush the demonstrators, and some of them carried kinds of knives which were new to me…Some of them were saying to others: ‘The right of the soldiers must return!’
In the darkness in front of Maspero I found a man being dragged along the ground by the army, who were beating him severely. All the people standing there were holding large sticks and knives and were beating him…but it was so dark I could not film or photograph it clearly.
After that I went down a side street to the street parallel to the Corniche, which ends at the Ramses Hilton…then I found the police had fired tear gas at the door of the mall, forcing it to close its doors…
When I approached from a street to the left of the mall, the street was closed…I found the entrance to a building or shop on the street corner and heard voices inside…I found a man standing at the entrance to this place talking to one of the people inside, saying: “He’s telling them to bring the Christians outside, bring them here from inside….we’re all standing here like brothers, this won’t do… He wants to pick people out.”
Suddenly two people came out, being beaten severely at the hands of people carrying sticks, without mercy, and the military police and central security were joining in and dragging them through the street. So I left there and found the other person being protected from the beating by a bearded guy, saying ‘These are our brothers’…and he nearly ended up in their hands.
I went out onto the main road, heading towards the bus stop, and there I found rioters and thugs with the military police…’the army and the people, one hand’…and heard cheering of ‘God is great’. The military police were chanting ‘God is great’ and banging on their shields whilst chanting…they were advancing in the direction of Tahrir. Then I went amongst the military police to find out what was happening. Then I found an Interior Ministry vehicle joining them, and a man emerged from the top carrying a tear gas gun, saying: ‘Our work here is done, the CSF should withdraw.’
The people carrying knives, and the military police, thought of attacking the demonstrators in Abdel Monem Riad, saying ‘God is great’…and this actually happened, but they didn’t succeed in entering the square.
After an hour of all this, all the revolutionaries and the thugs came back beside each other in a strange scene, in which no-one understands what happened. I found a man in a mask, thick-set, wearing all black, carrying what looked like a rifle in his hand, and around him werer commanders of the police and some of civilians carrying sticks, and I didn’t understand this and why they were moving around with him. Of course I couldn’t film or photograph this.
In another strange scene (the third scene in the attached video), there were people carrying knives, calling for the military police, and one amongst them opened fire, startling the demonstrators who all started running in the direction of the bus stop and towards the square. The scene in the square was strange as we protesters ran straight into the middle of the army, who were chanting ‘Islamic, Islamic!’ Some of them were chanting ‘F*** Christians!’ The army entered the square and did not find anyone…and those carrying weapons began searching for any Christians but they didn’t find any.
I hurried to the Coptic Hospital but I couldn’t reach it. I was met by a number of youth and children carrying weapons and saying ‘The Christians burned the Qur’an in front of the hospital and then fled inside.’ I asked him, ‘Did you see it with your own eyes?’ and he said ‘Yeah, I saw’. They made sure that I was Muslim, but I couldn’t go any further in the direction of the hospital because I was worried about the material I had filmed at Maspero.