Conflict & Justice

Cairo: Coptic Christian church blasts authorities for violence


An Egyptian woman mourns over the body of a killed relative as corpses lie at the mortuary of a hospital following clashes between Coptic Christian demonstrators and security forces in Cairo on October 9, 2011.



Egypt's Coptic Christian church blasted authorities Monday for attacks that left at least 25 dead, the Associated Press reports.

The church accused Egyptian authorities of allowing attacks against Christians to continue without impunity.

The Coptic Christian spiritual leader, Pope Shenouda III, also declared three days of mourning and fasting for the victims to begin Tuesday, it states.

Clashes Sunday between Egyptian security forces and several hundred protesters were one of the bloodiest battles since the February ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. The protests began when about 1,000 Christians tried to stage a peaceful sit-in.

GlobalPost's Jon Jensen in Cairo reports that the violence "underscored the fragility of Egypt’s security in the run-up to parliamentary elections next month."

He writes that while official state media immediately blamed the Coptic Christian community and "outside forces," Coptics and some Muslims who were in the fight pointed fingers at the military that is is using strongman tactics to quash demonstrations.

The Guardian reports that the clashes come during growing disillusionment with the progress made in Egypt since the February revolution and highlight the fact that the Arab Spring has had "uneven progress."

"Initial euphoria about an unstoppable domino effect that would topple one Arab autocracy after another has given way to a more nuanced view that looks at specific local factors over a longer period, including the capacity of the old regimes to fight back and hold on," it states.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian prime minister has appealed for calm in Cairo and the cabinet is holding emergency talks.

More from GlobalPost: Has Egypt's revolution become a military coup?