[D]ozens of would-be thieves started entering the grounds surrounding the museum, climbing over the metal fence or jumping inside from trees lining the sidewalk outside.
One man pleaded with people outside the museum’s gates on Tahrir Square not to loot the building, shouting at the crowd: “We are not like Baghdad.” After the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, thieves carted off thousands of artifacts from the National Museum in Baghdad — only a fraction of which have been recovered.
Suddenly other young men — some armed with truncheons taken from the police — formed a human chain outside the main entrance in an attempt to protect the collection inside.
“I’m standing here to defend and to protect our national treasure,” said one of the men, Farid Saad, a 40-year-old engineer.
Another man, 26-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim, said it was important to guard the museum because it “has 5,000 years of our history. If they steal it, we’ll never find it again.”
I haven’t really been able to tear my eyes away from the coverage of Egypt in the past few days. Not gonna lie, when I heard about the human chain formed to protect the museum, I teared up a little bit.
If you want to follow the developments in Egypt: Al-Jazeera English has a dedicated page for coverage; Mohamed ElBaradei has a twitter @ElBaradei, which has posts through 1/26; Prof. Mohamed Ibrahim Elmasry has a Facebook on which he’s somehow able to post updates, despite the nationwide Internet blackout.