Jared Malsin describes getting caught in Egypt’s Day of Rage: There was a crackle of gunfire. Birdshot hit the buildings overhead and the crowd of demonstrators on Cairo’s 15 May Bridge took off running from the shots. I felt a dull object hit my back. It was a brake disk from a car. Thrown by whom—it was unclear. Demonstrators shouted that police were shooting from the rooftops. I kept running.
The thousands of demonstrators that filled the bridge were supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, heeding a call for a Friday of Rage, a day of nationwide demonstrations deploring a crackdown by the interim military-backed government that at least 638 people dead on Wednesday. The initial shock of Wednesday’s killing has now worn off, and given way to bitterness and anger.
Many of the protesters knew they could be marching to their deaths. “I saw two people who were shot already, and I’m not afraid,” said Haitham Eisa, 32, a quality manager at an educational company based in Germany. He’s lived in Germany for 11 years, he said, but he flew back for the January 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak. He flew back again this week to protest Wednesday’s massacre.
“I’m going because I have to protect my opinion. My opinion is democracy,” he said, jogging alongside me. “We are still fighting for democracy. Democracy should survive. Nothing else. Not military weapons.” Running past, an engineering student name Muhammad Ibrahim Younis, 21, overheard Eisa’s words and shouted, “We’re not going back even if it means death!” [Continue reading…]