Following publication of a report detailing video evidence from the October 9, 2011 attack on a mostly Coptic demonstration at Maspero, a few people have sent in additional evidence. This appendix report updates the original text.
Officer Fires on Protestors – Maspero (30 seconds)
Video is of the television feed from al-Arabiya. The scene depicts an APC rapidly driving south along the Cornish, with the Nile River visible on the right. The vehicle swerves back and forth as protestors flee, mostly along the sidewalk on either side. At the 0:03 mark a flash of light is visible from the gun of the soldier who is standing through a hole at the rear of the APC. His gun is pointing downward into the crowd of people. Video does not demonstrate if a protester was injured as a result of this shot. The video thereafter runs on a loop, with the editor providing a red circle to highlight the soldier at 0:08.
Bilal Fadl is a popular columnist and television presenter, and here he hosts a segment on Maspero for the channel Tahrir. The first video he presents is covered earlier in the main report, but the second provides additional evidence not discovered earlier.
5:43 Presents a video in which citizens/thugs descended on Maspero to confront the protestors, from the direction of the north along the Cornish
6:45 One of those pictured is carrying a long knife
7:00 These people are filmed mingling with the security forces, military and police
8:27 Person seen holding a glass bottle in his hand
9:43 Someone calls out, ‘Is that a Christian, is that a Christian, hit him!’
10:04 Person pictured raising his arm and striking downward, unclear who is involved
11:38 Scene switches in video, now presenting from a side street near the Hilton Hotel
11:41 Person carrying sticks in both hands scurries down the sidewalk
12:39 Two people (identified as Christians) are brought out and are struck by people and police alike
13:30 Video fast forwarded but scene continues as one of the two stumbles on the ground and is struck again
13:46 Some civilians surround the person and push away the police and soldiers striking him
For the most part, the evidence presented here reinforces what is already known. The first video demonstrates that military personnel fired their weapons, while the second video reinforces evidence that citizens (thugs?) heeded the call of the media to come to Maspero to defend the armed forces.
As witnessed, many of these people were armed, and they mingled freely among the police and military. For the most part, however, the video scenes are free from violent activity. The comfort displayed on the part of security could represent familiarity – as according to one theory the military/police have employed thugs to do their dirty work. On the other hand, it is equally plausible the citizen/thug presence among the security forces represented the aftermath of a largely settled situation, as the demonstrators had already been largely dispersed.
Yet the video confirms that within this aftermath there were significant violations going on. General testimony states that bands of citizens/thugs were roaming the streets looking for Christians to accost. Not only does the video display how the military and police allowed this activity to take place, it shows also how at times they took part. As the Maspero case has now been referred from military jurisdiction to the public courts, it is imagined the individuals identifiable in this video will be required to give account for their actions, and inactions.
The first video, however, is even more important for legal review. Clearly the soldier aimed his weapon into the crowd. What is not clear is whether or not he discharged live ammunition, or a simple blank. If a blank, why would it not be fired into the air, as has been witnessed as standard procedure when looking to quiet an unruly demonstration? Might the soldier have been looking to further scare the protestors by aiming at them in a threatening manner? It is possible.
Yet it is also possible that this video demonstrates the manner in which several protestors were killed by live ammunition. The fact of these deaths has been established; official testimony states the military was issued only blanks, and that an unidentified third party was likely involved. With a public investigation now authorized, these claims, along with this and all other video, must now be subject to a transparent review.
Many questions still remain concerning the tragic outcome of the Maspero events. Readers are invited to submit additional evidence collected in order to further examine what took place.