No one died in Mohamed Mahmoud, said former interior minister Mansour El-Eissawy(Photo: Al-Ahram)
The Mohamed Mahmoud clashes were equally controversial off the battlefield, with authorities, Islamists and protesters trading accusations over who was to blame for the deadly confrontation which left over 40 killed. Ahram Online remembers the most famous - and infamous - comments made by various players at the time.
Police: Blaming the protesters
"No one was killed on Mohamed Mahmoud; there were no victims there. If anyone was killed, that would mean police had fired at protesters, but that didn't happen," then-interior minister Mansour El-Eissawy said a few days after over 40 demonstrators were killed in the clashes.
"Those attacking the interior ministry on Mohamed Mahmoud are paid thugs. When interrogated, one of them confessed that each had received LE2,500 to cause trouble," an unnamed government official said at the height of the clashes.
"Bravo, pasha! The bullet hit his eyes," one policeman was heard telling First Lieutenant Mahmoud El-Shennawy, who made headlines after allegedly shooting a protester in the eye. Dubbed "the eye-sniper" by local media, he was referred to a criminal court in April.
Islamists: Eye on parliament?
"We were ready to go to Tahrir if there were any attempts to ruin the parliamentary elections or manipulate the constitution. We would have only added to the number of victims had we engaged in clashes [on Mohamed Mahmoud Street] with police and army forces," said Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, incurring the wrath of protesters who believed they had been abandoned by the influential Islamist group.
"We chose the more difficult path. We preferred to be accused by some people of 'betraying the revolution' rather than allow chaos to prevail in the country. If we had only cared about parliamentary polls, we would have taken to the streets to boost our popularity and prompt more people to vote for us – but our only concern was the country's interest," the Muslim Brotherhood declared in a statement at the time.
Protesters: The revolution continues
"To live as a blind man with my head held high is much better than living as a servant with sight," said activist Ahmed Harara, who became a revolutionary icon after losing his left eye in the clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud Street after having lost his right eye during last year's Tahrir Square uprising.
"To the revolution’s men and women, the living and the dead, its unsung heroes: The revolution continues as long as you're there; the revolution is intact as long as you are resistant. Never surrender," Malek Mostafa, another activist who lost an eye during the clashes, advised fellow protesters at the battle's front lines.
The SCAF: Conceding to key revolutionary demand
"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has decided to conduct presidential elections before the end of June 2012," said Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Egypt's de facto ruler at the time, conceding to one of the protesters' key demands.