Video shows Egyptian protesters jumping from bridge to avoid gunfire

August 16, 2013

A video being circulated by Cairo-based journalists shows what they say are protesters trapped on a traffic bridge in downtown Cairo, dangling off the sides and in some cases jumping to avoid the crush of the crowd and nearby gunfire. The drop appears to be at least 20 feet to the concrete street below. The video, here, is not graphic but be warned that it is disturbing:

Reporters say that this shows the 6th of October traffic bridge, which is being used by large numbers of pro-Morsi protesters to head to a mass demonstration in Ramses Square. Egyptian security forces violently dispersed the last Muslim Brotherhood-aligned sit-ins  Wednesday, sparking clashes that killed more than  500.

It's not clear how today will compare to Wednesday's violence, but clashes have already begun as security forces move against the demonstrations, which are protesting both the July 3 military removal of President Mohamed Morsi and, now, the earlier violence against civilians.

Watching this video as an American, it's difficult not to be reminded of the footage from September 2001 of World Trade Center office workers jumping off the sides of the building to avoid the flames. Of course this bridge is much, much lower and the people jumping can expect to survive, but the familiar idea of people being so afraid that they will take a leap they know will hurt them makes this video all the more disturbing.

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Anup Kaphle · August 16, 2013