As the events have unfolded in Cairo, journalists have found themselves in precarious situations. On Sunday, a CNBC host and her crew were fired on. The latest cable television host to find himself in a tough spot is CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
On Monday’s “American Morning” on CNN, Cooper explained to viewers the violent confrontation he faced with an angry group of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak supporters.
“T.J. [Holmes], these are stunning developments,” Cooper said. “I just tried to make my way to Liberation Square. I got about as far as the Egyptian museum. I was with my team, MaryAnne Fox, my producer and Neil Hallsworth, my cameraman when the crowd essentially set on us. One man grabbed Neil’s camera and started screaming, ‘No, no,’ trying to take the camera from him.”
And that was followed by an attack, according to the “AC 360” host.
“We intervened peacefully and literally that was the switch that ignited the crowd and they just set upon us – punching us, kicking us,” he continued. “A few people in the crowd tried to help by trying to stop the crowd, but we had, I mean, literally a mob of people surround us just I got punched in the head probably a good 10 times or so and we literally ended up being turned around by the crowd and we had tried to walk because we didn’t want to run because if we started to run, the crowd would, you know, sense fear and attack us even more.”
According to Cooper, they found safety and were fine.
“All of us are fine,” Cooper said. “My producer was roughed up. My female producer was roughed up by the crowd as well. But, they clearly do not want cameras present in the square and are incredibly hostile to any media. It was, frankly, one of the more touchy situations I’ve been in. We’re literally for about five or 10 minutes, as we were trying to escape back to the location that we’re now in, we were followed by a mob of anywhere from 10 to 20 to 30 people who were alternately kicking us and punching us and throwing rocks and bottles at us, water at us, whatever they could. It would lull for a little bit and then the crowd would — someone in the crowd would run up and punch me in the head and that would ignite the crowd again. So it was an incredibly touchy situation.”
Cooper said that since violence had erupted between Mubarak supporter and opponents, the military was just standing by.
“I mean, this is — what is so shocking about this the Egyptian military is standing by,” Cooper said. “There are tanks. They control access to the square as we have seen the previous eight days, when they want to, they can control who goes where, who gets into the square. They could separate these two groups incredibly easily. They are literally standing by on their tanks, on their armored personnel carriers watching this.”