Cameleer only wanted to end protests so he could feed kin

Monday, February 7, 2011

LONDON - A camel driver, who last week charged into protesters at Cairo’s Tahrir Square leading to his beast being beaten to death, said: “I have never been interested in politics - I just want the protests to stop so I can feed my family.”

Mohammed Presht, 27, was among 100 horsemen and camel drivers who left their homes near the pyramids at Giza Wednesday to go to Cairo as he blamed the protests for his dwindling income and family facing starvation.

Protesters in Egypt are demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak who has ruled continuously since taking power in 1981. Mubarak has said he is ready to quit, but not immediately.

Presht joined the pro-Mubarak supporters, but his seven-year-old camel - called Michael Jackson - was killed in the capital chaos.

“I charged into the crowd but we were overwhelmed by people with knives and sticks.” he recalled.

“My camel cried out and I realised he had been stabbed in the legs when we found ourselves completely surrounded, The Sun quoted Presht as saying.

“I fought desperately to stay on but fell off in the chaos. I only survived by pretending to be one of the protesters attacking him.”

“The last I saw of him he was on the ground being terribly beaten. There was nothing I could do - I had to leave him for dead.”

Presht said he was desperate to act as protests had kept tourists away. He was financially affected as he was not able to earn about 30 pounds a day by giving rides on Michael and his other camel - Barack Obama.

“I have never been interested in politics - I just want the protests to stop so I can feed my family. When we went to the square, they had had nothing to eat for five days. I’m one of only two breadwinners who have to feed 50 people,” Presht said.

“Now I have lost a wonderful animal worth $2,000 and it’s going to be even harder,” he said.

Filed under: Economy

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