Sunday, May 8, 2011

Christians & Sympathetic Muslims Protest at Maspero

Thousands of Coptic Christians & sympathetic Muslims protest outside TV & radio building

Several thousand angry Copts, joined by thousands of sympathetic Muslims, protested in Maspero, Cairo - outside the TV & radio building/Ministry of Information on Sunday. They protested in response to the deaths of at least 12 (including Christians and Muslims) and the assault on two churches in Imbaba which took place on Saturday night.

Hundreds of others are said to have been injured in the sectarian fighting. Shops and homes were also reportedly torched during these counter-revolutionary clashes.

Christian protesters called for the trial of Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi - chief of Supreme Council of the Armed Forces/Mubarak's Ministry of Defense for 20 years - along with the trial of those responsible for the sectarian attacks.

Muslims and Christians carried crosses in the protest stand. Conservative Muslim women, wearing the veils/hijab and even the full-face veil/niqab, expressed their solidarity by holding up bibles, crucifixes, images of Jesus and the holy family.

Chants were directed against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (especially Field Marshall Tantawi) and the Ministry of Interior for their "negligence" and "slow response." Angry chants were also directed against the Salafis - "Where are the Salafis? The Copts are here!"

Some Christian protesters - perhaps out of fear, perhaps reaction - called for international forces/peace-keepers to protect the Coptic minority. A more progressive/spiritual group of Christian protesters chanted "We don't need protection from Egypt. We don't need international protection; We have divine protection."

Christian protesters angry by the police forces' "weak response" during yesterday's deadly clashes; and intimated by their presence at today's protest - pushed hundreds of Central Security Forces tens of meters away from the protest site.

Angry protesters also cited the Interior Ministry's involvement in the New Year's Eve (Qidessein) Church bombing in Alexandria, a policeman's shooting of Coptic passengers aboard a train in January, and the State-Security Apparatus' alleged involvement in the destruction of the Atfih Church in March.

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