It is quiet as I make my way to Rabaa, making sure I do not trip over the rubble. There is a stench in the air that comes after a mass burning. Once my eyes adjust to the brightness around me I realise almost everything here has been burnt. Trees are stripped bare, the trunks blackened. The pavement, the ground, nearby buildings and fountains are all blackened with the embrace of a recent fire.
Among the rubble is a torn poster of Morsi. Protesters had been camping out in this residential area for six weeks.
The police and army are parked in the area. Cans and tins were among things I spotted in the rubble.
The devastation doesn’t end. There are electrical wires, clothes, trees and planks of wood on this pavement. Cars nearby were also either damaged or completely destroyed when protesters set fire to them.
The petrol station in the back, Mobil, was also torched.
Scores of people are here to sieve through the rubble, picking up anything they can either use, or sell.
Children and men posed with the Egyptian army in front of the Rabaa mosque, also the name of the area.
Foreign journalists were among those on the street.
This car was probably one of those torched yesterday. It’s completely destroyed.
The Rabaa mosque was also torched.
The view of the Rabaa mosque from the street. The metal construction on the floor is what used to make the stage.
Everything inside is blackened from the fire. The courtyard leading to the mosque is filled with rubble.
Devastating scene of the mosque and its courtyard.
Even the metal gates surrounding the mosque are charred from the fire, along with the trees.
Ashes and rubble in the courtyard.
The pavement has been taken apart here, the paving stones used as either shelter or rocks to throw at the police.
A bulldozer to clean up the rubble. There were many citizens walking around, taking photos with their mobile phones. Some were having political debates with one another. The atmosphere was tense and sad, some women upset at what had happened here. “How can you kill innocent people, the force used here was both wrong and brutal. They were killing their own Muslim brothers, their own Egyptians,” they argued.
There were also men and women who were happy that the sit-in had been dispersed. “This was a residential area, we couldn’t leave our homes because of the sit-in, because of the men in our apartment buildings and gardens. We were routinely checked every time we wanted to leave and enter our house,” exploded one man. Another man climbed the mosque’s gate and kissed general Sissi’s poster. Men watching broke out in cheers.
This building was the Rabaa mosque’s events hall. People here were sifting through the rubble, garbage men looking for recyclables.
This man was expressing his views to a presenter, the microphone’s labelled as the ‘Tahrir’ channel. The man, holding a Qur’an, said “I am a Muslim, I live here and what I saw this past month is not Islam. They were in a residential area, camping below our buildings, searching my wife and other women who live in the building every time we wanted to enter. What is more humiliating? They would sleep outside our apartment and knock on the door to use the toilet. We were terrified. We were not living. That is why I am glad the sit-in has been removed.”
More foreign journalists reporting in front of the mosque.
Military police line up inside the mosque.
An ONTV reporter, an Egyptian satellite channel. People were quite happy to express their feelings. Some were talking out loud to themselves, clearly suffering from shock.
These women were also among those collecting anything useful to recycle to make money.
More devastation inside the mosque’s courtyard.
It looks like protesters used to camp here in the Rabaa mosque’s courtyard. The flames did not reach here.
Clothes and bags were on the ground here. The pavement was also taken apart.
What was once a lawn on the right has been reduced to rubble and soil.
Trees were used to feed fires, although the Prophet had laid down rules that trees should never been destroyed in a battle or war.
It’s a sad day in Egypt for both sides of the political conflict. But there are many, especially in the residential area of Rabaa, that are relieved that they are no longer surrounded by a sit-in, although they seem deeply saddened that it had to come to this. That Egypt had to be reduced to this.