To counter-balance what they view as the international press’s biased coverage of the events in Egypt, the country’s authorities have allowed journalists to meet injured police officers the past few days. FRANCE 24 reports from the ground.
On August 18, the Egyptian government opened the doors of Cairo’s hospital to the press, allowing journalists to meet with injured police officers receiving care.
FRANCE 24’s team in the Egyptian capital was able to speak with officers who were said to have been beaten or shot in clashes with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted President Mohammed Morsi.
“I was shot in the chest while standing guard on the 6th October Bridge,” Mohammed Samir said from his hospital bed. “The shooters ambushed me from the tops of nearby buildings.”
Several reporters’ microphones were extended towards Samir as he spoke, while Major General Badr Hijazy, deputy director of the hospital, looked on.
According to Hijazy, roughly 70 police and security officers were killed in the violence over the past few days.
Journalists were then taken to see Wael Mokhtar, a policeman who was beaten during the August 14 raid on a pro-Morsi encampment at Nahda Square.
One Egyptian journalist asked Mokhtar, whose face was covered in bandages, which weapons he was struck with.
“They didn’t have weapons,” Mokhtar replied with difficulty.
“Was it the Muslim Brotherhood?” the reporter followed up.
“Only God knows!” the patient exclaimed.
Apparently bothered by these answers, the deputy director of the hospital cut short the interview, declaring suddenly that Mokhtar was in “critical condition”.
“He’s confused, we need to let him rest now,” Hijazy said, before leading the group on to another injured officer.
Since the violent evacuation of the pro-Morsi camps, official state media have held the Muslim Brotherhood and their partisans responsible for the violence, accusing them of “terrorism”.
The Egyptian authorities have been offended by the international coverage of the events, which they deem overly pro-Morsi.
The fact that a swift reconciliation between Morsi’s supporters and detractors is seen as unlikely has led to fears of a vicious cycle of violence in Egypt. According to the latest official figures, more than 800 people have been killed in the recent unrest – the majority of them supporters of the ousted president.
In Photos: Injured policemen treated at Cairo hospital
Mohamed Samir, a policeman, says he was hit by bullets fired by hidden gunmen while he was standing guard on the 6th October Bridge in central Cairo. Mehdi Chebil / FRANCE 24
The injured Samir is surrounded by TV cameras. Mehdi Chebil / FRANCE 24
Wael Mokhtar was injured during the raid on the pro-Morsi encampment at Nahda Square. Mehdi Chebil / FRANCE 24
Journalists wait in a hospital room before being taken to the bedside of wounded policemen. Mehdi Chebil / FRANCE 24
The army keeps guard outside the hospital. Mehdi Chebil / FRANCE 24
Date created : 2013-08-19