Screenshot of the video posted by Youm7, apparently showing armed civilians amongst the protesters.
UPDATE – August 15:
Another video, also published by the newspaper Youm7, shows armed civilians during clashes on August 14th. Youm7 claims they are Muslim Brotherhood activists, but the footage cannot be verified.
The death toll continues to rise in Egypt, a day after the presidency declared a month-long state of emergency in most of the country. Egypt’s new leaders justify this exceptional measure on the grounds that armed Muslim Brotherhood supporters allegedly fired at the security forces. Videos doing the rounds on the internet are supposed proof of such allegations.
Many online videos and photos bear witness to the fierce violence
on the streets of Cairo and across the country. Dozens appear to show the security forces shooting live ammunition. But the army claims the supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi were armed and it has broadcast footage
in a bid to prove it. But besides the army’s images, only one bit of footage appears to add weight to this claim.
The video was filmed by journalists from Youm7
, a newspaper highly critical of the Muslim Brothers. They filmed on the roof of the publication’s offices on Battal Ahmed Abdel-Aziz Road, not far from Arab League Road in Cairo’s Mohandissen neighbourhood.
In the first video in the series, two civilians armed with AK-47s (kalashnikovs) are clearly visible. One of them is wearing a bullet-proof vest. Both men fire, but it is not clear what their target is.
The same men are seen in two other videos broadcast by Youm7. In one, they are seen encouraging the looting of a police vehicle. They provide cover, while helmets, batons and anti-riot shields are offloaded.
In this last video, the green-shirted man firing in the first video, is seen setting fire to the police vehicle.
The popular Facebook page, Documenting the Egyptian Revolution
, published screenshots of these videos. Many internet-users commented, claiming the scenes were staged by the army to justify their heavy-handedness with the protesters.
Screenshot of the Facebook page, Documenting the Egyptian Revolution. The text reads: ‘Muslim Brothers shoot at the police’.
The Muslim Brotherhood claims their activists are unarmed. For the moment, not a single independent journalist has been able to fully verify the army’s accusations or film armed protesters.
UPDATE – August 15th: Another video, also published by the newspaper Youm7, shows armed civilians during clashes on August 14th. Youm7 claims they are Muslim Brotherhood activists, but the footage cannot be verified.