These two photos were taken just minutes apart earlier this morning from our office overlooking Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Giza’s Mohandessin district. Here is my personal eyewitness report of how the morning started before we left.
As a (female) friend and I arrived into Game’et el Dowal street around 8 in the morning, we could hear gunshots and the road was blocked, and I personally saw a rock being thrown, no clue by who or on whom. We had to take a side road, then got out of the car some 500 meters away from work and ran the rest of the way with people all around (including a police officer) telling us it’s not safe. Security at our building rushed us into the elevator, and we went to the office to presumably start our day.
Minutes into starting our work, we could hear shouts out the window and the occasional gunshot. We looked out, and the scene we saw is the one you see on the right above. Up until then, it seemed like it was a small scuffle, but then the noise started getting louder and we started seeing rising smoke. We looked out the window, and were met with the scene in the picture on the left. Tires were being set on fire, people on motorcycles were flooding into the square, the road was blocked on both sides, and a crowd was starting to form outside the mosque.
This is when our security started coming up and telling us we had to leave. They said they saw people shooting at the police and that the police (who are usually traffic police in this area when there’s nothing going on) couldn’t do anything and left. They also said there were Molotov cocktails and the main road was completely blocked. We evacuated the building, in a scene reminiscent of the 1992 earthquake, and got into the cars waiting right outside the building to get us out of the area.
The above is what I personally saw between 8 and 9:30 in the morning today, August 14th, 2013. From what I hear, things got much worse in the area afterwards. From the graffiti shown in footage of the area after we left, it’s obvious the people who were barricading the mosque, blocking the square, and shooting live ammo were supporters’ of former president Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in what I believe is retaliation for the breaking up of their allegedly peaceful sit-ins earlier in the morning.