Eyewitness website disputes military narrative of Maspero violence

Following 9 October’s deadly violence near the state television building, also known as Maspero, the state-owned media has only presented a formal government narrative that holds protesters responsible for events that left 26 dead.

This is the biggest death toll of a single protest since 11 February, the date of the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.

What stood behind these deaths is still subject to a war of narratives, one perpetrated by the powerful Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which runs the country, and the other by activists who witnessed the clashes with their bare eyes as they partook in the march that ended up in a bloody scene at Maspero.

The causes of the deaths, according to initial hospital reports, were live ammunition and being run over by a vehicle. However, the SCAF denied in a press conference on 12 October that the army used live ammunition against protesters. The army also didn’t confirm whether armored personnel carriers (APC) ran over protesters. It implied, however, that if this happened, it was definitely unintentional.

In its press conference, the SCAF showed a timeline of the events. It said that near 4 pm, around 1600 protesters gathered in Shubra, where a Coptic march was set to take off from. The gatherers were full of hatred for the army, according to the generals. After two hours the number of protesters increased significantly as they reached the Maspero building. The SCAF continued by saying that there were protesters carrying knives and Molotov cocktails. Minutes later they started throwing stones at the army, which responded by firing in the air, the generals finished.

A blog has been created to collect eyewitnesses’ testimonies over what happened on Sunday. The site is run by activists and independently aggregates the testimonies of those who witnessed the events firsthand.

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