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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Video Shows Street Violence in Egypt

Video produced by Mada Masr, an English-language news Web site in Cairo, shows supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, reacting to an attack by security forces on protesters outside the Republican Guards barracks where Mr. Morsi is believed to be in custody.

As Ben Hubbard, a colleague in Cairo, reports, Egyptians struggled on Saturday to come to terms with an explosion of violence in Cairo and other cities that left more than 30 dead and 1,400 injured as opponents and supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, clashed two days after he was removed from office by Egypt's military.

Many were surprised by the scale and ferocity of the violence, with street battles erupting in normally quiet residential neighborhoods. The fighting also shut down a major Nile bridge in downtown Cairo, steps from Tahrir Square.

Hisham Abu Aisha, director of the emergency department at a prominent Cairo hospital, said that some patients continued fighting even after they were taken to the emergency room for treatment. “There were dead and wounded from both sides,” he said, “and they wanted to finish each other off, so they beat each other inside the hospital.”

Video of the violence taken by participants in the fighting, witnesses and Egyptian and foreign television crews flooded social media on Saturday. It was not clear from any of the videos what incited the fighting in each incident, and because the violence was primarily civilians fighting other civilians, it was difficult to determine who was fighting on which side.

One video circulating widely on Saturday appeared to show Islamists in the port city of Alexandria pursuing a group of young men to a building's roof. The young men appear to hide atop a concrete tower, but they are eventually caught, with their attackers throwing them off the tower and beating them as they lie injured on the roof.

Video posted to YouTube on Friday shows Islamist supporters of Mr. Morsi pushing two young men off a concrete tower onto a building rooftop, and violently beating them as they lie injured after they fell.

The attackers appear to be supporters of Mr. Morsi, and one of them wears a long, scraggly beard typical of an ultraconservative Salafi. He carries a black flag emblazoned with the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God,” that is commonly associated with jihadist groups.

The video appears to have been filmed by someone in a neighboring building, and the emotional voices of a man and a woman can be heard throughout. “They beat him, they killed him, they killed him,” the man can be heard saying before the young men are thrown from the tower. When they fell, the woman shrieked: “Why? Why are they killing them? Why? This is a sin!” The sound of gunshots can be heard.

Mada Masr, a bilingual English and Arabic news Web site based in Cairo, posted a video on its YouTube channel of pro-Morsi protesters outside the Republican Guards barracks reacting to a security forces' attack on their protest that killed at least four people on Friday.

On Friday, the Lede reported on video of the attack that was posted to YouTube and included graphic footage of a Morsi supporter being shot in the head from close range by an unseen gunmen who witnesses said was affiliated with Egyptian security forces.

Al Masry Al Youm, an independent daily newspaper, posted several videos of Friday's violence on its YouTube channel, focusing on confrontations between Mr. Morsi's supporters and opponents in two areas of downtown Cairo - the residential neighborhood of Manial and the Nile-spanning Sixth of October Bridge, one of the most important traffic arteries in the Egyptian capital. It is near Tahrir Square and a number of high-profile buildings, including the state television headquarters, the Egyptian Museum and the Ramses Hilton, a high-rise luxury hotel.

Video posted to YouTube by an Egyptian newspaper shows supporters of opponents of Mr. Morsi engaged in street battles on a major bridge in downtown Cairo.

In one video of fighting from the bridge posted by Al Masry Al Youm, the two sides have claimed the sidewalk across the street from each other and are engaged in fierce combat, throwing rocks, setting off fireworks and shooting at each other with handguns. Terrified motorists race through the fighting. Some of the fighters appear to be wearing police riot helmets, but no other body armor, while others seem to have donned Guy Fawkes masks.

Video posted online by an Egyptian newspaper of fighting between Morsi opponents and supporters on a major Cairo bridge shows men armed with rifles and handguns.

Another video posted by Al Masry Al Youm of fighting on the bridge claims to show Morsi supporters firing birdshot at anti-Morsi protesters on the street below, using the bridge as high ground. It is not clear from the video who are the Morsi supporters and who are the opponents. Some of the videos show civilians armed with what appear to be handguns and rifles.

Mike Giglio, a correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast who was reporting from the scene of Friday's violence in downtown Cairo, posted a photograph to Twitter that shows a weapon being used by one of the combatants. Mr. Giglio described it as a handgun that fires shotgun shells, and it appeared to be a homemade or improvised weapon.

As the violence on Sixth of October Bridge unfolded on Friday, some activists complained that neither the police nor the military were attempting to intervene. On Saturday, Mosireen, an activist video collective based in Cairo, posted a video to YouTube that showed police and army vehicles sitting idly as protesters fought nearby. In the video, it appeared that security forces intervened only after Morsi supporters withdrew.

Video posted online by an activist video collective in Cairo appeared to show security forces sitting idly as protesters battled each other on a major bridge in downtown Cairo.

Al Masry Al Youm also posted video that shows scenes from fighting on Friday night between Morsi supporters and residents of the island neighborhood of Manial, where at least four people were killed on Friday night. The video contains graphic images of wounded civilians, including one man who appears to have been shot in the back or neck.

Video posted online by an Egyptian newspaper shows fighting in the residential island neighborhood of Manial in central Cairo. It contains graphic images of injured civilians.

The video from Manial also includes scenes of fighting on University Bridge - which connects the neighborhood to the Giza campus of Cairo University - and near the university entrance, where supporters of Mr. Morsi have staged a protest for several days. The neighborhood around Cairo University has been the scene of violence since the middle of the week, and more than a dozen people have been killed there.