Egyptian Troops Attack Christian Protesters; At Least 25 Dead, Hundreds Injured
At least 25 people are dead and 272 more injured after Egyptian troops attacked Christians protesting an attack on a church. This is the worst violence to grip the North African nation since the ouster of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak in February.
According to the National Post, Egyptian armored vehicles rushed headlong into a crowd of demonstrators who had gathered near state television headquarters in Cairo, crushing many to death. Video footage of crushed and mangled victims has appeared online; witnessed also report seeing protesters killed in this manner.
Tensions between Muslims and Christians, who make up about 10% of Egypt’s population of 80 million, have risen since the end of Mubarak’s reign. In March, a Muslim mob attacked Christian protesters in Cairo, killing at least 11 of them. Then, in May, 15 more Christians were killed in Imbaba. Attacks on churches have gone unpunished. Mubarak effectively kept Islamic hardliners in check; now that he’s gone, Salafist groups and the Muslim Brotherhood have emerged as not only a powerful religious force but also a political one too.
This development has alarmed and dismayed many Egyptian Christians. “Why didn’t they do this with the Salafists or the Muslim Brotherhood when they organize protests? This is not my country any more,” Alfred Younan, a Coptic Christian, told the National Post.
Many Egyptians of all backgrounds are concerned about the role of the armed forces are playing in Egyptian society, and the military’s failure to announce a clear timetable for handing power over to a yet-to-be determined civilian government. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for November 28, beyond that, not much is known. The military has been accused of human rights violations.
“The army was very violent in dealing with all these demonstrations … and they are being very violent as they know they will not be held accountable and will use such protests to increase repression in Egypt,” Gamal Eid of the Arab Network For Human Rights Information told the National Post.
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