Andrew Burton, an American freelance photojournalist was shooting the protests in Cairo when the crowd attacked him.
Burton has posted some incredible photos to his blog. He wrote a post about the attack, which happened on Feb. 3rd, admitting that he was at first relucant to do so, “But after watching the news, realizing I was one of many, and that I was very lucky, I’ve decided I’ll write a small account of what happened: 1) Because it adds an account to what is occuring here, simply put it’s news. 2) I’m holed up the hotel right now, as of right now (9AM) I dont know a single journalist heading out on the ground today.”
At one point, after taking some photos of a pro-Mumbarak protestor, he began to receive threats from people around him. His attempt to leave the crowd was thwarted. Here’s an exceprt from his post about the event:
“Very suddenly 50% of the crowd started attacking me -– kicking, punching and slapping. The other 50% (anti-Mubarak supporters) quickly encircled me to protect me. Five or six guys surrounded me and took many more blows than i did. We tried to move away, out of the crowd, but the crowd had gotten very large, very quickly –- we only moved about 100 yards, at best. Movement was slow and clunky, we were stumbling through the people attacking us –- forcing our way through the crowd. We were headed towards an Egyptian army tank and when we hit the it, the men positioned me with my back to the tank, squatting down. At this point, I was pinned. People continued to kick, punch and grab at cameras. Soldiers standing on top of the tank were waving pistols and screaming. I was fucking terrified. My shirt was ripped from my back, hands went into my pockets (the most they got was my CF cards), the men protecting me were looking at me screaming me, ‘you are safe, we are here for you, we will get you out of this.”
The soliders eventually lifted him out of the crowd and dumped him head first into the tank. Burton spent the next two and a half hours with the soliders, he writes, who “were joking, laughing, making fun of me, they didn’t seem to care too much about what was going on outside. In the following hours that I sat inside the tank, we attempted to speak through broken english and ate food together. I tried to ask them why I was attacked – at the time I thought I had made a beginners mistake. They didn’t understand my question, and I only found out later how many other journalists were also attacked.”
When the fighting subdued somewhat, a general escorted Burton to a cab, and he returned to his hotel.