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  • » 10/10/2011, 00.00


    Cairo, violence against Copts: 24 dead and 212 injured

    A peaceful demonstration attacked by thugs and the army. Tank deployed, crushing some of the demonstrators. Christians and moderate Muslims accuse the army of pandering to fundamentalists. Curfew imposed. Anti-Christian violence "advertising" for extremists ahead of political November elections.
    Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - 24 dead and 212 wounded, this is the toll after violent clashes between Coptic Christians and security forces last night in Cairo. A curfew was imposed throughout the night, which ended at 7 this morning.

    The violence erupted during a demonstration held by Coptic Egyptians and others, condemning the attack by Muslim extremists against a church in Aswan, aggravated by police and the governor inertia.

    The Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, after visiting the site of the clash, said that "the greatest threat to national security is the manipulation of national unity and return to discord between Muslims and Christians." This violence - he added - "threatens the relationship between citizens and the army."

    In reality, the violence was sparked by the army. Thousands of Christians - but not only - marched from the district of Shubra to the headquarters of state television, demanding the resignation of the governor of Aswan, guilty of covering up for alleged Islamic extremists. They also denounced the state television of inciting anti-Christian sentiments.

    At one point the demonstrators were attacked by a group of plainclothes thugs who began throwing stones and shooting. Christians responded by throwing stones and the army, in response attacked the demonstration. A military vehicle charged some of the demonstrators and crushed them. The Christians then burned some police cars. Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd, the demonstrators threw stones and anything they could throw at them.

    According to the Ministry of Health, among the 212 wounded 107 are civilians and 84 police.

    Since the fall of Mubarak, thanks to the sit-in in Tahrir Square, held by Christians and Muslims together, there has been a crescendo of attacks against Christians by Islamic fundamentalist forces.

    The army seems unable to contain the violence, but more often seems inclined to defend the extremists rather than Christians.

    Last night the Christians demanded the resignation of the military council and its president, gen. Mohamed Tantawi.

    The anti-Christian violence appears to be part of a campaign to increase the consensus of the Islamic parties in the lead up to the political elections on 28 November. Local sources told AsiaNews that there is a plan to drive Christians from Egypt or at least to reduce them to a minority subject.

    The Christians in Egypt, the country's original population, constitute 10% of the population. They suffer from exclusion from public office and limits on freedom of religion, both in the construction of churches and in the freedom of evangelization and conversion.

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    See also

    11/10/2011 EGYPT
    Cairo, 20 thousand at funeral for victims of clashes between Copts and military
    The crowd marched from the hospital to the cathedral in Cairo urging unity among Muslims and Christians. The army launches investigation into clashes that left 25 dead and 500 wounded.

    03/02/2012 EGYPT
    Egypt, two dead and 400 wounded in clashes between police and protesters after the massacre at Port Said
    The violence occurred last night in Suez. The police opened fire to disperse the crowd that had stormed the local police station. Thousands in Cairo descended into the streets to demand the resignation of the High Council of the Army

    28/04/2012 EGYPT
    Egyptian court shelves trial against 'unknown' for Maspero massacre of Copts
    Judges claim "lack of identification of the culprits." In the October 9, 2011 massacre of peaceful demonstrators 27 Christians were killed and over 300 were injured. 28Copts arrested in the aftermath of the massacre and accused of involvement also acquitted. Victims’ relatives cry "farce".

    14/10/2011 EGYPT
    Truth and justice not lies and superficiality on massacre of Copts
    The results of the autopsies will be released Oct. 27. But Egyptian army trying to silence the issue by manipulating the truth and accusing the Copts of provoking the violence despite the eyewitness accounts and videos. Shenouda III is opposed to the military’s version. Obama also assumes that the Copts were violent. Not to forget AsiaNews publishes some pictures of the massacre, sent by Coptic organizations.

    13/09/2012 EGYPT
    Egyptian Catholic Church spokesman: Pope must go to Lebanon even if the situation is tense
    Fr. Rafic Greiche underlines the extreme importance of the Pope's trip as a bearer of peace to a Middle East victim of hatred and war. For the priest the attacks sparked by satirical film about Muhammad are against the United States, not against Christians. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood launches a major protest for September 14 in Cairo and other cities of the country. The Egyptian Copts criticize the film.

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