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EGYPT: Hit and run videos spark debate

February 4, 2011 |  3:05 pm

There has been Web chatter about several videos allegedly showing police officers, diplomats and other government officials driving vehicles through crowds of protesters, striking and injuring some.

One video posted on Facebook and aired by CNN on Friday shows a green van driving through a crowd of protesters in the street, knocking a few over. Those who posted the video and many viewers claimed that the van belonged to Egyptian Interior Ministry police.

CNN also has been showing video of a similar green police van swerving into crowds of protesters in Suez Jan. 28.

Another video shows a white van plowing through a crowd of protesters on a darkened Cairo street Jan. 28. The person who posted the video said it showed a diplomatic van striking 20 people.

Since the video was posted, it has been viewed more than 600,000 times and elicited more than 5,000 comments. Many viewers speculated that the van belonged to an American diplomat.

On Friday, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo sent a statement to Al Jazeera after the satellite network posted and linked to the YouTube video.

"We have seen a video that alleges a U.S. Embassy vehicle was involved in a hit and run incident that injured dozens in Cairo," the statement said. "We are certain that no embassy employees or diplomats were involved in this incident. On January 28, however, a number of our US Embassy vehicles were stolen. Since these vehicles were stolen, we have heard reports of their use in violent and criminal acts. If true, we deplore these acts and the perpetrators."


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—  Molly Hennessy-Fiske