Monday, July 29, 2013

Egyptian Army Shoots At Protesters

Sky News obtains eyewitness accounts and a video of a violent clash between pro-Morsi protesters and the Egyptian military.

Competing versions of what happened when 51 people were killed close to the gates of the Republican Guard officers club in Cairo have emerged from video evidence.

There is unanimity, though, that whoever started the violence the massacre marks a bloody moment in history which will scar Egypt's future.

Sky News obtained eyewitness accounts and a video shot from an apartment overlooking the street which runs across the front of the Guard's club.

It clearly shows pre-dawn preparations by interior ministry and army soldiers for an operation to clear the street where supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi were encamped.

The force arrived with fire engines and ambulances - clearly aware that what they were about to embark upon was likely to turn violent.

Sky News has interviewed the authors of the video and confirmed its authenticity.

It shows protesters confronting the forces who respond immediately with tear gas and volley upon volley of clearly audible automatic rifle fire.

Demonstrators had been camped on the central reservation of the four-lane road since the military coup which deposed Mr Morsi last Wednesday.
Grab from Muslim Brotherhood video of pro-Morsi protest in Cairo The witness video shows the army firing tear gas at pro-Morsi protesters

They had been sleeping in white tents - some had their families with them and had vowed to stay here until Mr Morsi was returned to office.

The military said there was an attempt by the pro-Morsi groups to break through its barbed wire and piling defences of the officers club where Mr Morsi was held during the coup.

It says its soldiers were forced to open fire to defend themselves and that two officers were killed and a number of other troops injured.

Its own video of the events appears to be authentic - they were filmed on the same location as the protesters died.

The armed forces cameramen caught one man firing a pistol at the army, another loading a shotgun and a third firing a weapon from behind shrubbery.

The army videos show wounded soldiers being carried to safety.

They do not prove the armed forces point that they fought to protect the entrance of the officers club - but rather that demonstrators used firearms when they had been pushed some 400 metres back from the gates.

In the film obtained by Sky News from a witness who wanted to remain anonymous, the security forces approached from outside the demonstration, not from the club's interior.

Hundreds of rounds were fired - in the semi-darkness the only muzzle flashes came from the military's lines.

Soldiers and riot police are visible standing by a dead or wounded demonstrator.

Another can be seen being arrested and beaten.

"I know what I saw. There was no attack by the demonstrators on the gates. That was an area where they were singing and dancing. The military attacked the demonstrators. I saw two drop to the ground I don't know if they were dead or not," the witness said.

The witness added they were not a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, the main group behind the demonstrations and had been annoyed at the noise and mess the protesters had made.

The military cleared the road and drove the demonstrators away from the club as dozens of soldiers assembled on foot and in armoured vehicles.

No comments: