Egypt: Violence Breaks out Between Christians and Security Forces
Clashes broke out between Coptic Christians and Egyptian security forces over the destruction of a church in southern Egypt, resulting in 23 people dead and more injured. Demonstrations took place in Tahrir Square and in Alexandria, forcing the a curfew to be imposed on Tahrir. The demonstrations, led by several Coptic bishops, burnt photos of Mustafa al-Sayed, the governor of Aswan province where a church was destroyed.
Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh, reporting from Cairo, described the situation as ‘utter chaos”, and “was supposed to be a peaceful protest, demanding that Coptic rights should be fulfilled. But it soon escalated into violence, with people on balconies pelting the demonstrators with stones, clearly disagreeing with the cause of the Coptic demonstrators.” Eyewitnesses said at one point Egyptian security vehicles drove through the crowd and hitting several people, prompting the protesters to start lighting vehicles on fire. Many Christians “blame the country’s ruling military council for being too lenient on those behind a spate of anti-Christian attacks since Mubarak’s ouster,” and are worried about the possibility of an ultra-conservative Islamist party being in charge.