It was Wednesday afternoon. We were covering the clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters near Tahrir or Liberation Square in Cairo.
A short time after we started our shooting, cameraman Olaf Wiig was threatened by a small group of pro-Mubarak thugs.
We ducked down an alley. It turned out to be a dead end, so we dashed into a nearby building.
At first it was a perfect vantage point to cover the street battle. Then it quickly turned into a battle station for the pro-government side.
Olaf, producer Ibrahim Hezbroun, a Canadian journalist, and myself hunkered down in an apartment in the back of the top floor.
The owner of the apartment, first of many kind Egyptians to help us, offered us shelter.
Just outside the door, the goons were breaking up parts of the hallway’s marble to throw off the roof. As night fell, rocks turned to Molotov cocktails. Gas bombs were being lit, also to be thrown off the roof. We could see the silhouettes of the thugs and their projectiles on the apartment’s glass door.
They did not know we were there.
They’d already ransacked a small hotel on the other half of the floor, terrorizing the people there in a search of “traitors.” We anticipated they could knock down our door, and we would be next.
Still we waited for a turn in events. The anti-government protesters started targeted the building. When a Molotov cocktail smashed through the window of the room we were in, spreading gas over the floor, we decided that was it. We weren’t going to go up in flames. We were going to make a run for it. We rushed down the stairs and out on the street.
It was nothing short of a battle zone. Smoke filled the air, fighters scrambled back and forth across the no-man’s land between the two sides, hurling rocks, gas bombs, and other projectiles. Bursts of gun fire crackled through the night.
All the while, Egyptian soldiers stood on their tanks from inside the compound of Cairo’s museum across the street, watching it all, not interceding.
Heads low, with everything whizzing by, we scrambled in the direction of our hotel, straight into the thousands of the pro-government mob.
Ibrahim and the other colleague were able to blend into the crowd and left.
Within seconds Olaf and I were spotted as foreigners and attacked. They hit us with their open hands, their fists, sticks, bars, rocks, whatever was around, especially aiming at our heads.
They grabbed us and punched us. Several dug through my pockets. All the while screaming madly in our faces. But still we pushed on. [...]
The Snooper Report.
Join us as we Take Our Country Back.
Sic vis pacem para bellum