WATCH: Journalist Arrested and Beaten Alongside Protesters in Egypt, Secretly Records Ordeal
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All of us, including me, had our cell phones removed, but some of them obviously had more than one, and that got missed by the police. But most of the phones aren’t working, and there’s a desperate struggle for the ones that are, for people to phone loved ones and tell them that they’re being taken away.
People are suggesting that there could be a number of outcomes, that they could be taking us away to torture and question us over the burning of a police truck, which is what was going on when I was grabbed by state security. I was just about 20 meters from it, and they stormed unexpectedly and took everybody around it. Or they may have had orders to release us, in which case the standard thing for the police to do is to take us right out dozens of miles into the desert, extort us all the money we’re worth, and then leave us by the side of the road with no phones, no money and several dozen miles outside of the city. So, we’re waiting to see what’s happening.
And despite the fact that we’ve all been arrested and beaten, there’s still a huge amount of excitement over what we’ve seen today in the protests in South Tahrir. So, we’ll see how this plays out.
People are banging on the—we’ve come to a stop, and people were banging again and again on the walls, protest. And the truck is now doing quick spurts forward and stopping to throw us all around. And people are saying now we will definitely get beaten. It’s all very confusing. And we still have several injured people in here losing blood.
People are banging and screaming to be let out. There is a young man who has completely collapsed. He seems to be—he seems to be struggling for breath. And it actually looks very serious. He’s looking desperately ill. He’s collapsed on the bench. People are around him trying to give him air. They’re taking off his shirt in an attempt to, I think, make sure that he can breathe OK. And meanwhile, people on the other side of this truck are screaming out the windows, saying, "We have an injured person, a dying person in here. We need help!" And yet, still, we’re still locked inside, and nothing is happening.
They’re screaming now, "A man is dying! A man is dying!" And the door has been forced open. And there was a surge forward to get out of the door, but now people are holding back so that the man who is suffering desperately from a diabetes coma can get through. But the police are at the door. They’re not letting people out. In fact, they’re beating people.
The door is open. People are being hauled out by police, beaten. Someone next to me is collapsing from the heat and beating. And meanwhile, the whole truck is being rocked and shaken. It’s completely disorientating and very confusing and quite a bit intimidating. The whole truck is swaying from side to side. People are screaming outside. It’s very unclear what the situation is.
And now, suddenly, suddenly the police seem to have fallen back, and we’re charging out of the truck. The man who has fallen into the diabetes coma has been carried out. And now we are all—we are all now following. There’s a push and a crush to go through this incredibly narrow one-man doorway. And now we are physically forcing our way out. We are physically forcing our way out. So we’ve burst out of the truck, past the police lines.