Maspero2011: Archiving the memory of the Coptic protest’s violent dispersal

A new blog by the name of Maspero2011 was created to document the violent dispersal of a Coptic protest which took place opposite the Maspero building in Downtown Cairo on October 9, 2011. On that day the Egyptian military attacked a licensed demonstration protesting against the destruction of a church in Aswan, the attack left 28 protesters and one army officer dead. 

The blog and linked Twitter account were launched on October 7, two days before the fourth anniversary of the dispersal, and rely on purely video documentation of the events surrounding it. 

“This content was prepared by individuals with no political or party affiliations,” read the introductory note on the website, which added that all the videos included were “objectively showcased, regardless of whether they incriminate or champion any of the involved sides.”

The videos in the archive are categorized according to time, place and type. The archive includes a collection of footage available on the internet, uploaded by a variety of users. 

“Before the events” is the first section and mainly focuses on media reports that mentioned the call for and demands of the protest, as well as the events surrounding the destruction of Al-Marybab church in Aswan, which initially instigated the call for protest. 

Another section is dedicated to the clashes that took place on the night of October 9, 2011 in front of the Maspero building. These include haunting footage of protesters being run over by military APCs and shot by soldiers using live ammunition. Other videos show the protesters fighting back against the military and citizens gathering to chant against the protesting Copts. 

(Warning: Graphic content)

The Coptic hospital in Ramsis was the site of some of the more memorable images of that night. The blog showcases videos of the injured being treated in the hospital, as well as videos of the hospital morgue where bodies of victims were laid down on the floor. A group of individuals from the area had also gathered in front of the hospital and clashed with families of the victims. 

(Warning: Graphic content)

Maspero2011 also collected video testimonies of eyewitnesses, victims, doctors and reporters who were present at the scene. 

A special section was dedicated to the aftermath of the massacre. It includes footage of Copts at the Christmas mass at the Abbasiyya Cathedral objecting to the presence of members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the country’s ruling council at the time. It also shows Egyptian state TV’s coverage of the massacre which had been highly criticized for inciting violence against the protesters and calling for “Egyptian people to go and defend their army.”

Footage of the military police breaking into both Hurra and 25 TV channels to search for protesters who were purportedly hiding inside their buildings, as well as interrupt their broadcast of the night’s events is available.

Other sections document the responses of Coptic church officials, state officials and international responses.  


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