Jess Hurd


Texting A Revolution

Battle for Cairo. Pro Mubarak supporters send in men armed with clubs on horses and camels but are quickly forced to retreat from anti Mubarak protesters in a bloody running battle outside the Cairo Museum, near Al-Tahrir (Liberation Square), Cairo, Egypt. © Jess Hurd/

The uprising in Egypt had its organisational base in social media, in Facebook, Twitter and texting. It was this ability that the government shut down, mobile phone signals blocked and internet disabled to try and prevent the masses from communicating, organising and expressing their anger against a a brutal regime on the streets – they failed.

When a journalist colleague left Cairo I was asked to send in text reports to a British newspaper.

The transcript below are the text messages I sent on what was dubbed, The Battle for Cairo, or the Day of the Camels, where the Egyptian people fought heroically all through the day and night, at great personal cost against Mubarak’s armed men to defend Tahrir Square and the revolution.

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The Battle for Cairo

2 Feb 2011 10.46

Pro Mubarak supporters are massing outside the TV Station. Situation very tense, much hostility to westerners. Anti Mubarak protesters holding the square fear an attack by what they estimate will be 25,000 pro regime supporters. Weapons have been found on the checkpoints.

2 Feb 2011 11.48

Pro Mubarak supporters have marched up from the TV station past the army tanks outside the museum towards Tahrir Square, 10,000 so far.

2 Feb 2011 12.13

People are being caught and bludgeoned by pro Mubarak protesters outside museum.

2 Feb 2011 12.31

Street fighting between both groups rocks thrown, pro Mubarak demonstrators pushed out of square, now advancing. Army doing nothing.

Pro supporters pushed back, hiding behind tanks by anti Mubarak people throwing stones defending square.

Raining stones, people appealing for calm.

2 Feb 2011 12.49

Pro’s advancing towards square again.

2 Feb 2011 13.01

Pros charge with horses and camels (!) carrying clubs but beaten back with a hail of stones.

Anti’s push back the pro Mubarak supporters beyond museum, celebrate on top of tanks. Stones covering floor, people injured, being carried away.

2 Feb 2011 13.21

People break rocks on tanks, media seem to have control of one tank..riot could go on for some time.

2 Feb 2011 13.34

Army soldier beaten by protesters for taking a TV camera.

Army giving amnesty to pro Mubarak supporters in museum. Anti Mubarak protesters still control the street.

Machine gun fire near Hilton Hotel

2 Feb 2011 13.45

Shotgun and pistol fire.

Plain clothes police with walkie talkie inside pro Mubarak supporters. People bang on tanks, noise deafening.

2 Feb 2011 14.39

Trucks and containers dividing road as barricade.

2 Feb 2011 15.03

Many head injuries on anti Mubarak from masonry, chairs and slates thrown from roof tops. Still holding ground.

National democracy party cards been found on pro Mubarak supporters.

Gun shots near river Nile.

2 Feb 2011 15.20

Massive rock breaking operation, women also on frontline. Pro Mubarak supporters with guns have been caught and handed over to army.

ID with no job title have been found by anti Mubarak protesters. They think that the pro demo is full of police.

2 Feb 2011 15.38

Children help collect rocks.

This is a battle for Cairo, no end in sight.

More shotgun fire from pro Mubarak side.

2 Feb 2011 16.02

It’s dusk both lines are holding, army doing nothing. Tanks and armoured personal carriers litter the street. Tanks are supplied rocks in bread baskets where they are thrown at the pro Mubarak side. Women bang railings to make large drum sounds..more gun fire..

More machine gun fire.

2 Feb 2011 16.42

Rugs full of stones being carried to the front line, people wearing cardboard  and coats to protect heads.

People say they are fighting for freedom and their children’s futures.

2 Feb 2011 17.31

Big explosion.

Person brought out on a makeshift stretcher.

Two explosions.

2 Feb 2011 17.45

Cairo Tower lights have gone out.

2 Feb 2011 18.13

Strange rhythmic drumming accompanying the revolution, every bit of metal is being drummed, drowning out every other sound.

2 Feb 2011 18.42

More gunfire, air filled with dust and smoke. People working constantly in teams to provide front line with stones as ammunition.

2 Feb 2011 19.06

Hundreds wounded, many still on the front line with head and limbs bandaged. People carried out to a makeshift hospital in the square. Mubarak is trying to cling onto power in the bloodiest way possible.

2 Feb 2011 19.26

Thousands march in to front line on the anti Mubarak side. Mood angry and defiant.

Usama Alam, a journalist supressed under Mubarak is carried on the shoulders of protesters to the frontline.

2 Feb 2011 19.53

Pro Mubarak protesters are pushed back towards the flyover.


2 Feb 2011 20.20

People giving out crisps and water on front line. Heavy automatic gunfire surrounds us.

2 Feb 2011 21.32

The battle continues, helicopter overhead.

2 Feb 2011 22.23

Tanks line up pointing at and moving towards Tahrir Square.

Gun turrets turned to face pro Mubarak protesters.

People applaud and plead with the soldiers.

3 Feb 2011 03.43

People line up in street for morning prayers. Ambulances arrive to collect sniper victims.

3 Feb 2011 04.55

Anti Mubarak protesters have kept control of Tahrir square.

Hundreds of anti Mubarak protesters march back victorious into Square.

Doctors and walking wounded pose for photos in front of tanks, others look exhausted.

3 Feb 2011 06.15

Walking into the square, rubble everywhere. Most people wearing head bandages, limping, wrapped in blankets. Some being treated by exhausted doctors. There is a woman speaking on a loud speaker. People smiling wearily with the victory after 11 hours of intense street fighting, with at least 1500 injured and unknown numbers killed. Just been greeted with ‘welcome to Egypt’ by a protester with a rye smile who has kept his sense of humour.

© Jess Hurd



































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