Yesterday Egypt saw its third bloody massacre in the six weeks since their democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi was removed from power by a military coup.
A press conference today on the bloody crackdown opened with a minute’s silence for all those who died yesterday. Over 2,000 were killed, said Mona Alqazzaz spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood in London, and women and children were targeted. They were demonstrating peacefully.
“I was hoping we would meet to celebrate the achievement of the dream of the biggest democracy in the Middle East,” she said. “However, we’re meeting today witnessing the worst state led massacre in the modern history of Egypt.”
Also speaking at the conference was Fatima Said and Shadi Khalifa of British Egyptians for Democracy, Chris Doyle, Director of the Council of Arab British Understanding, human rights activist Mohammed Jamil and Osama Rushdi of the Supreme Council of Human Rights.
The Prime Minister in Egypt, Hezam el-Beblawi, has said he is “not sure” if live bullets were used, only tear gas. But “tear gas does not make holes in brains, tear gas does not blow people’s brains up” said Said, in reference to the injuries witnessed at the Rabaa field hospital yesterday. “All those killed were killed by live bullets,” she said.
According to Said “many people were also burnt alive.” Human Rights Watch verified they had seen over 300 bodies at Iman mosque in Cairo, and over 100 of them had been burnt alive. In one morgue bodies had to be piled up on the street outside as there was no space inside to accommodate the bodies.
Said explained the Ministry of Health could not record a death until it had received a body. Families collecting bodies of their loved ones are not allowed to take them unless they signed official papers stating they had died of natural causes or they committed suicide.
“My heart goes out to journalists,” she said of those that had been killed and detained. She said reporters on the way to the airport are having their equipment confiscated and photographs deleted.
Her colleague, Shadi Khalifa, said we were here for the international community to take a role, to take a stand and to condemn the killing of innocent protestors.
“The message which we started within 2011 25th January, this is the message which we stand here today and carry on speaking for. We demand and our demands must be heard. Because 2,000 plus, 3,000 plus, to be dead in one day, to be killed, to be shot, is not a human attack. It’s not a human mind; it’s not a human heart.
“I fear the carnage to come,” said Doyle. He spoke “not as somebody affiliated with one party or faction.” He said that what happened yesterday was “almost inevitable” after the coup six weeks ago. “It was preventable, it was unnecessary and it has disastrous consequences for all of Egypt.”
In all of this there is blame to be shared around, said Doyle, and that includes the international community and some within the Muslim Brotherhood who have not necessarily always acted within the national interest.
“What’s the solution?” He went on to ask. Internationally the great powers have to take a great stand. “Is it really tenable that there is not an arms ban to Egypt? The EU should introduce one now. We cannot be selling arms to repressive regimes and whilst this repression goes on, that should stop.”
Jamil said that these crimes will be subject to prosecution at the international level.
“The coup not only killed thousands but it murdered democracy itself,” said Rushdi.