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The hope and the despair: Egyptians recall Rabaa massacre Open in fullscreen

Alex Wright

The hope and the despair: Egyptians recall Rabaa massacre

Human Rights Watch has called the raids a "crime against humanity" [Getty]

Date of publication: 12 August, 2015

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Social media users remember how comradeship and goodwill of Cairo protests against army coup descended into state-sanctioned violence and the deaths of an estimated 900 people on 14 August, 2013.
Egyptians have used social media to mark the upcoming second anniversary of the massacres at Rabaa and al-Nahda Squares, events Human Rights Watch called a "crime against humanity".

Twitter users used several Arabic-language hashtags to recall comradeship at the sit-ins, and paid their respects to the estimated 900 protesters who were killed when the Egyptian military raided both squares on 14 August.

#RabaaUtopia was used on Twitter to express pleasant memories of the goodwill and hope among the Rabaa protesters before the military struck.

"I remember one day we arrived at sunset in Ramadan and we didn't have any iftar. We were given so much food to eat we had leftovers for suhoor. Everyone was sharing with each other," said Asmaa Ghazal.

     
      Rabaa Square before the raid [Getty]

"In Rabaa there were Islamists sitting next to people smoking cigarettes, don't be fooled by the media that wants you to believe everyone there was bearded extremists," she added.

"Never has so many good, virtuous and moral people gathered in one place to support one cause and one goal," said Abo Nour.

Others strongly condemned the massacres. "Rabaa is still the dividing line between people with a conscience and the animals who sold their souls to the military," said one Twitter user.

"Unlawful killing is the way gangs and criminals behave not regular security forces operating under the rule of law," said the April 6 Youth Movement's official Twitter account.

"How many times will the ground be swallowed up by the blood of innocent people? How many times will the ground be defiled by being rained on by blood instead of water?," said TV Presenter Osama Gaweesh.

The Muslim Brotherhood, now a banned organisation in Egypt, called the raids "the massacre of the century".

"May God have mercy on the martyrs... We will not forget them," said spokesman Mohammad Montaser on Twitter. "To all the murderers who claimed the lives of revolutionaries in Rabaa and al-Nahda squares: The blood that has been spilled is screaming for revenge."

The Egyptian armed forces violently broke up the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in at Rabaa Square on 14 Aug 2013, where demonstrators were protesting against the coup which toppled Egypt's first elected president, Mohammad Morsi.

About 900 people died, and more than 3,000 were injured. The name of the square was the inspiration for the now infamous Rabaa hand gesture used against the military government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The square was re-named Hisham Barakat square earlier this year after Barakat, Egypt’s top prosecutor, was killed in a powerful bombing that targeted his car.

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