After the police massacre of pro-Morsi supporters, survivors say: ‘We either have freedom or we die.’

The Guardian reports: The sand-filled forecourt outside the Zeinhom morgue, Cairo’s main mortuary, was a carousel of coffins. From the left-hand door, out came families carrying dead relatives to their funerals, stray dogs sniffing at their heels. Through the door on the right, in went still more bodies for their autopsies. By the end of Sunday, officials had assessed 82 corpses, as the death toll from Saturday’s police massacre of pro-Morsi supporters kept rising.

So too did the mourners’ feelings of isolation. “If this was animals being killed, people would care,” said one of those outside the morgue, lawyer Islam Taher, alluding to the indifference of mainstream Egyptian opinion to the death of Morsi supporters. “But because it’s us, they don’t.”

On Friday 28 June, Taher had pitched camp with his childhood friend Mohamed Fahmy, a 28-year-old unemployed commerce graduate from a small village in eastern Egypt, at the Rabaa Adawiya sit-in in east Cairo, near where Saturday’s massacre took place. On Sunday, exactly a month later, both arrived together at the the Zeinhom morgue – but this time Fahmy was dead in a battered brown coffin, shot through his right temple by a police marksman, after a night-time pro-Morsi march on Saturday morning turned into a massacre.

“Suddenly, he had a bullet through the front of his head, and a hole out the other side,” said Taher, holding out a picture taken on his phone of a brain-dead Fahmy breathing his last hours earlier. “He didn’t have any weapons. He just had his bare chest.”

State officials said Saturday’s deaths took place after pro-Morsi protesters fired first – and even claimed that police only used teargas to disperse them. But protesters told of a state-initiated bloodbath and a subsequent cover-up. “We asked them to record his death as a murder by police,” said Ashraf Mamdouh, loading the body of his brother-in-law, Hegazy Zakaria, into a van that would take him to his funeral in a village outside Cairo. “But they forced us to accuse anonymous sources.”

Inside the morgue, the scene had been one of mayhem. “We didn’t have enough places in the fridges to fit all the bodies,” said Dr Hazem Hossam, an official at Zeinhom.

“We had to do autopsies on the floor. At some points we had to ask families to help us with the process. It was chaos.”

Five miles away at Rabaa al-Adawiya – the ground-zero of pro-Morsi support over the last month, the Islamist equivalent of Tahrir Square – protesters said the attack had strengthened their resolve. [Continue reading…]

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