Egyptian Hotel Live Tweeted an Angry Mob Storming Its Lobby

Dashiell Bennett
The Atlantic Wire

Normally, having a luxury hotel just steps from the cultural heart of a major international capital is great for business. Sometimes, it's an invitation for disaster, as the Semiramis InterContinental in Cairo found out last night. The four-star lodge overlooks the Nile in the heart of downtown, but is also just one long block from Tahrir Square, the once and current home of tens of thousands of feuding revolutionaries.

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Even that is typically not much of a problem—until last night when a group of masked men broke off from the main mob and stormed the lobby of the hotel. They reportedly ransacked the main entrance and looted an ATM machine. They also sent a desperate social media team scrambling for someone, anyone, to come and help. Even Twitter users would have sufficed in a pinch like this:

We r under attack and several thugs have entered the Semiramis ... We need help #jan25 #jan28 #Tahrir #EgyPolice

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

THUGS HAVE ENTERED THE IC SEMIRAMIS ON THE CORNICHE!

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

WE ARE UNDER ATTACK! SEVERAL THUGS HAVE ENTERED THE SEMIRAMIS! SEND HELP #jan25 #jan28 #Tahrir #EgyPolice

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

THUGS HAVE BROKEN DOWN BARRIERS, LOBBY DOORS, ARE INSIDE SERMIRAMIS! PLEASE SEND HELP!#Egypt #Cairo #Emergency #Jan25 #Jan28 #Tahrir

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

There were actually several more tweets like these, shouting into the ether for assassitance. Then they tried a different tactic:

.@liamstack THUGS HAVE BROKEN DOWN BARRIERS, LOBBY DOORS, They're INSIDE SERMIRAMIS! PLEASE SEND HELP! #Egypt #Jan25 #Jan28 #Tahrir

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

Liam Stack is a reporter for The New York Times, who presumably is among the many journalists  who have stayed at the InterContinental while covering Egypt's revolution. He did his best to help, but unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot to be done from his vantage point. They kept trying:

SOS If anyone knows anyone in #Military #Police #Government, please send help! Thugs in Lobby #Emergency #Tahrir #Jan28 #Egypt

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

Finally, after more than a hour of frantic tweeting, the calvary arrived.

Special Forces just arrived, attempting to deal with situation. There are NO injuries reported, Large crowds outside. #Egypt #Tahrir #Jan28

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

Special forces are on scene and handling the situation. Thank you to everyone for your help and speedy response to our SOS!

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

To clarify we contacted all relevant authorise & later media to draw attention as the break in attempts increased & aid had not yet arrived.

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

The priority for IC is undoubtedly the lives & safety of our guests & colleagues.

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

Thank you all revolutionaries that stood by us last night...You are awesome#jan2813

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 29, 2013

In the end it appears, that no one was seriously hurt and the perpetrators—not revolutionaries, but just criminals trying to take advantage of the chaos—were arrested. Although, several guests obviously felt it best to find other accomodations. 

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All in all, a pretty eventful night for the hotel staff and for Twitter. Certainly more exciting than that the tweets they usually send out. This was the last transmission, sent before the current round of protests began last Friday:

Greeks may claim the creation but the Lebanese mastered this traditional dish! Join us @ Sabaya to decide for yourself! ow.ly/i/1pwyI

— InterContinental (@ICSEMIRAMIS) January 23, 2013