News broke Weds. morning of the attack on Anderson Cooper and his fellow CNN journalists in Egypt, and luckily he appeared to be safe and unharmed that night, when he checked into “Piers Morgan Tonight” via satellite to discuss the brutal attack.
Both Cooper and Hala Gorani shared that perhaps the most unnerving part of the attack was the personal nature of it. “A young man would come up, look at you, and punch you right in the face,” Cooper says. He, his producers, and cameramen were all punched and kicked when they were caught in the mob scene.
“This really felt personal,” added Gorani. “It was eye-to-eye, when someone comes up to you and says ‘no’ and ‘stop’ and puts their finger in your face.” Gorani found an unlikely ally in the melee when one of the protesters who she said she could “only assume was pro-Mubarak” grabbed her by the shoulders and steered her out of harm’s way, saying, “Stay away from her, she’s with me.”
“I kind of owe my safety today to a complete stranger,” she says.
Cooper says that now that the protests have become increasingly violent, rioters are more threatened by journalists. “Anyone believed to be a journalist” was in danger. “If their attempt was to stop people from reporting that story, it was unsuccessful,” he says.
Gorani notes that things may get worse, as the time after Friday prayers is a time traditionally used for demonstrations in Arab countries. “The potential for extreme violence exists,” she warns.