Egypt: Clashes erupt outside court as Mubarak pleads “not guilty”

mubarak-trialConsidering the circumstances, I would tell Egyptians: “be careful what you ask for“.

Many Egyptians never believed it possible. On Wednesday, ex-President Hosni Mubarak went on trial at the Cairo Police Academy which once bore his name. In the opening session, the former ruler pleaded “not guilty.”

Mubarak denied charges of murder and corruption which could carry the death penalty.

“All these charges, I deny them completely,” Mubarak said from his stretcher in the court room, contesting charges of fraud and of the premeditated murder of anti-regime protesters who toppled his regime.

Mubarak’s sons Alaa and Gamal as well his former interior minister Habib al-Adli and six former security aides, who are facing similar charges in the same trial, also pleaded not guilty.

As the session came to an end, the presiding judge adjourned the court until August 15. Judge Ahmed Rafaat ruled that Mubarak and his sons would be required to attend the next session.

In the meantime, the former strongman must be held in a hospital on the outskirts of Cairo where he could receive full medical treatment.

via Clashes erupt outside court as Egypt\’s Mubarak pleads \’not guilty\’ | World | Deutsche Welle | 03.08.2011.

Egypt: Islamists Flood Square in Cairo in Show of Strength

Well, this is not shocking at all if we consider what has been happening really:

Tens of thousands of Egyptian Islamists poured into Tahrir Square on Friday calling for a state bound by strict religious law and delivering a persuasive show of force in a turbulent country showing deep divisions and growing signs of polarization (…). “Islamic, Islamic,” went a popular chant. “Neither secular nor liberal.”

via Islamists Flood Square in Cairo in Show of Strength – Nuevo Digital Internacional.

More thanks to Legal Insurrection:

Mobs of ordinary Egyptians joined with soldiers to drive pro-democracy protesters from their encampment in Tahrir Square here Monday, showing how far the uprising’s early heroes have fallen in the eyes of the public.

Six months after young, liberal activists helped lead the popular movement that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the hard core of these protesters was forcibly dispersed by the troops. Some Egyptians lined the street to applaud the army. Others ganged up on the activists as they retreated from the square that has come to symbolize the Arab Spring.

Squeezed between an assertive military and the country’s resurgent Islamist movement, many Internet-savvy, pro-democracy activists are finding it increasingly hard to remain relevant in a post-revolutionary Egypt that is struggling to overcome an economic crisis and restore law and order.

egypt muslim brotherhood tahrir

Photo from Ironic Surrealism.

Egypt: Muslim Attack on Christians Provoked By Installation of Church Bell

Cutaway drawing of a church bell, showing cons...

Image via Wikipedia

An exchange of harsh words on July 25 between Ruth, a Christian woman, and Gassem Fouad, a Muslim man who had parked his tricycle in front of her home, escalated into assault by the man on Ruth and other Christian villagers, and the arrest of one Copt. After Ruth, who is 5 months pregnant, was assaulted, a Muslim mob waited for Coptic farmers to return from the fields, where they were intercepted and beaten with iron rods and pipes.

Security forces managed to contain the situation.

Six Christians, including Ruth and her sister-in-law Hannan, were hospitalized with concussions, head injuries and broken limbs. No Muslim was injured.

None of the Muslim perpetrators was arrested.

Ruth’s husband, Kirillos Daniel, was accused of possessing a weapon — a rifle found thrown where the Christians were attacked, and is under detention.

In an interview on CTV Coptic TV, Father Estephanos Shehata, of the Samalout Coptic dioceses, said “The real reason behind this assault was the church bell, which has greatly angered the Muslims in the village.” He said the dilapidated church in the village of Ezbet Jacob Bebawi, outside Samalout, north of Minya, was given permission to renovate and this was completed last week, and the church bell was reinstalled.

via Muslim Attack on Christians in Egypt Provoked By Installation of Church Bell.

Egypt: The chaos in ruling military council helping Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis

Hosni Mubarak 2003

Image via Wikipedia

Ongoing clashes between young supporters of the revolution and security forces are undermining the Egyptian military’s hold over the country as critics from all directions accuse the ruling Supreme Council of failing to manage the situation ahead of next November’s elections.

Yesterday, Major General Mohamed al-Assar, Egypt’s assistant defence minister and a top-ranking member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, met important international figures at a meeting in Washington. He reassured his interlocutors that the Egyptian military was not planning to set up another dictatorship.

According to Fr Greiche, spokesman of the Egyptian Catholic Church, the military is facing internal chaos and is incapable of running the country after the fall of Mubarak.

Clashes between demonstrators and police on Sunday in Abbasseya, in Cairo, left 298 people injured. Pro-democracy groups were outraged; they accuse the police of using knife and stick-wielding thugs to provoke the clashes in order to arrest demonstrators.

For the clergyman, the military is losing control of the situation. “The Supreme Council includes 17 top generals with different opinions and ideas what to do. This is leading to chaos,” he said. This has eroded the military’s credibility.

AsiaNews.it.

Egyptian Shaykh: ‘We Still Kill Him, Even If He Repents!’

Whoever insults the Prophet (PBUH), if he later comes and apologizes, and kisses the shoes (of the ruler), and says, “I want all Muslims, every one, to return and strike me with the soles of their feet”—does the ruler have the right to accept this?

I bring up this question, as it was asked of me. The answer is that it is not permissible for anyone to accept this. Then what do we do with him? We kill him! But he told you that he repented. We still kill him, even if he repents!

He said all of this in the context of the current controversy in Egypt with the Christian businessman Naguib Sawiris, a billionaire and founder of the Free Egyptians Party. Late last month Sawiris tweeted a picture of Mickey Mouse wearing a Muslim beard and jilbab, and Minnie Mouse wearing a niqab, which was considered to be mocking Islam. Al-Huwayni did not say explicitly that Sawiris should be killed for mocking Islam, but did say that all of his companies should be boycotted, even if he only owns 10% share in the company.

via Egyptian Shaykh: ‘We Still Kill Him, Even If He Repents!’.

Egypt: What Kind of Revolution?

The Coptic Cross

Image via Wikipedia

Equally disturbing, noted the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, “violence targeting Coptic Orthodox Christians remained high.” But the Mubarak government rarely punished the attackers. Indeed, International Christian Concern noted that it was common for the government to arrest “Coptic victims alongside the perpetrators of the violence.”

Even when the Copts did not end up behind bars, they did not receive justice. State explained that the Mubarak government sponsored “informal reconciliation sessions” which “generally prevented the criminal prosecution of perpetrators of crimes against Copts, precluded their recourse to the judicial system for restitution, and contributed to a climate of impunity that encouraged further assaults.”

No surprise, failing to exact a penalty for murder and mayhem has led to more murder and mayhem — or what the Hudson Institute‘s Nina Shea called “pogroms and acts of terror.” The failure to punish the perpetrators, complained the Commission, “continued to foster a climate of impunity, making further violence likely.” Even more emphatic was Dina Guiguis of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who told a recent congressional hearing that “the Egyptian regime is fully responsible for creating the fertile ground on which pernicious and egregious sectarian violence has become routine.”

Unfortunately, those who hoped the Egyptian revolution would better protect Christians and other religious minorities have been disappointed. To the contrary, violent attacks on Copts have been increasing.

As of last month 24 Christians had been killed, more than 200 had been injured, and three churches had been destroyed. Muslim mobs have beset Coptic churches, businesses, and homes. Well-armed thugs also attacked Christians who were protesting against the forgoing attacks.

No surprise, then, that few perpetrators have been arrested, let alone imprisoned. Noted Paul Marshall of the Hudson Institute: “as under Mubarak, the authorities’ refusal to punish attacks on Christians has led to more attacks.” The army even assaulted two Coptic monasteries, supposedly to enforce discriminatory zoning laws (which prohibited walls erected for protection from attacks).

via The American Spectator : What Kind of Revolution?. via Catholic Culture.org.

Egypt: Muslims threaten to kill priest in Egypt

More peaceful guys:

Coptic cross modified
Image via Wikipedia

The Assyrian International News Agency reports a Coptic priest in the same region was threatened late last week by a mob of Muslims that surrounded the church of St. George.

Father George Thabet was serving the morning mass when hundreds of Muslims, some armed, surrounded the church vowing to kill him.

Eye-witnesses reported the Muslims chanted, “We will kill the priest, we will kill him and no one will prevent us..” One Muslim said they would “…cut him to pieces.”

Security forces arrived and escorted Father George in a police car to the Coptic Diocese in Minya. Youth from the church remained to defend the building from the Muslims.

via The Voice of the Martyrs Canada: Muslims threaten to kill priest in Egypt.

Egypt: famous journalist summoned due to her articles before military prosecutor

Shaded relief map of Egypt.

Image via Wikipedia

Democracy in Egypt?

Rasha Azab of the independent weekly al-Fagr and the weekly’s editor-in-chief, Adel Hammouda, were told Saturday to appear before the military prosecutor.

Azab wrote about a meeting between members of Egypt’s military council and a group of activists, in which they discussed allegations of torture and abuse in post-uprising Egypt. In March, Azab was briefly detained and beaten by the military.

Related:

German official: “Islam is a moderate religion”

Logo Muslim Brotherhood

Image via Wikipedia

Herret ruled out the idea of decreasing German’s investments in Egypt if the Brotherhood come to power, stressing that the new political parties should implement a group of economic policies to boost investment and enhance the Egyptian economy’s competitiveness.

The German official played down the concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood winning the elections.

Islam is a moderate religion, which encourages dialogue with the other and denounces violence and extremism,” he explained.

Herr Herret hasn’t read what Muslim Brotherhood leaders think about non-Muslims, has he? Continue reading

Egypt: War against Copts

“When they were beating me, they kept saying: ‘We won’t leave any Christians in this country,’” Mr. Mitri recalled in a recent interview, two months after the March attack. Blood dripped through a plastic tube from his unhealed wound to a plastic container. “Here, there is a war against the Copts,” he said.

His attackers, who were never arrested or prosecuted, follow the ultrafundamentalist Salafi strain of Islam that promotes an austere, Saudi-inspired worldview. Before President Hosni Mubarak was toppled on Feb. 11, the Salafis mostly confined themselves to preaching. Since then, they’ve entered the political arena, drawing crowds and swaying government decisions. Salafi militants also have blocked roads, burned churches and killed Copts.

The Salafi vigilantes who brutalized Mr. Mitri later ignited a bigger controversy that is still playing out here in Qena, an upper Nile governorate of three million people—almost one-third of them Copts. In April, Egypt’s new government appointed a Christian to be Qena’s new governor, replacing another Christian who had held the post under Mr. Mubarak. The Salafis responded by demanding a Muslim governor and organizing mass protests, showcasing the movement’s new political influence.

Angry crowds left the mosques and converged outside the governor’s headquarters for a sit-in. Qena’s revolutionary coalition split. Some liberal Muslims, such as Mr. Yasin, were offended by bigoted slogans and left. Others, including Muslim Brotherhood youths, stayed.

Hala Helmy Botros, a Coptic blogger active in the uprising against Mr. Mubarak, was stunned to see a former comrade-in-arms with a poster that read: “I am against sectarianism—but I refuse a Copt as governor!” Other protesters screamed: “Islamic, Islamic—we want a Muslim, not an infidel.”

More here.

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood’s party has been authorized

Logo Muslim Brotherhood

Image via Wikipedia

The real result of the “Arab spring” is not more democracy, but more islamization:

The Committee on Political Affairs of Egypt on Monday authorized the founding of Freedom and Justice Party, created by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, so that it can now engage in political activities.

“Freedom and Justice Party is officially recognized today because it meets all requirements of the New Parties’ Act, ” says a statement from the Committee. Its secretary general, Mohamed Saad al Katatny, launched last May 17 to obtain the necessary documents legalizing the formation.

Egypt: Christians begin to flee the country

They are insisting on leaving Egypt because the risks of staying here are too great,” Naguib Gabriel, a Coptic human rights lawyer, told Egypt Daily News. “Many Christians are afraid of the future because of the fanatics in the mosques.”

At least 20 Christians have been killed in sectarian violence with Muslims since Mubarak‘s ouster. And groups like the Muslim Brotherhood have been taking an increasingly visible role in forming Egypt’s next government.

In fact, a Coptic church in Soul has been rebuilt with the Army’s help, but the Copts are complaining the inactivity of the authorities to prosecute the perpetrators of the fire that destroyed it. Meanwhile, 17 Christians arrested during the protests continue in prison.

Via.

Egypt: Islamists prepared to use democracy for their own gains

If Egypt didn’t have enough with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis are also prepared to take part in the elections… with not a very “democratic” ideology, which includes rejecting the consideration of non-Muslims as equal citizens:

Islamists could fare well in parliamentary elections scheduled for September, especially if the various groups run on a unified ticket. Their chances are boosted by the disarray among other groups. Traditional opposition parties were deeply restricted under Mubarak’s 29-year rule and have no popular base to speak of. The liberal youth groups behind the 18-day uprising that forced Mubarak to step down on Feb. 11 are still scrambling to organize before voting day.

The Islamists, furthermore, are well funded and organized. The most established fundamentalist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, has years of experience in contesting elections.

Liberals and leftists, including the youth activists who led the protest uprising against Mubarak, are caught between their stance that all sides must be allowed to enter the political game if Egypt is to be a real democracy and worries whether Islamists will play by the rules…

“I am worried most about the Salafis because they are not accustomed to politics,” said activist, Mustafa al-Nagar, who campaigns for Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace laureate and potential candidate in presidential elections due in November. “Their main concern is to exclude anyone else.”

While the Brotherhood has long been Egypt’s best organized opposition movement, the Salafis are a new player in politics. Salafis are ultraconservatives, close to Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi interpretation of Islam and more radical than the Brotherhood. They seek to emulate the austerity of Islam’s early days and oppose a wide range of practices they view as “un-Islamic” — rejecting the treatment of non-Muslims as citizens with equal rights as well as all forms of Western cultural influence.

Salafis traditionally stayed out of politics, rejecting democracy because it replaces rule by God’s law with the law of man. The movement grew in recent years because it was tolerated and even encouraged by the Mubarak regime to counter the Muslim Brotherhood. With Mubarak gone, the Salafis have abandoned their disdain for politics.

Link.

In anticipation of the future, these democratic guys have also attacked Copt citizens. Why TVs aren’t denouncing this?

Related: Geopolitical implications of Islamist Attacks on Christians in Egypt. Although it was written before the revolution that has brought Mubarak down, it’s important to see the bad consequences an Islamist Egypt can bring to the region and, as a result, for the world.

Egypt: House Converted Into Mosque Overnight In Egypt to Prevent Church Services

In an effort to end any hope of the Coptic Christians using the Church of St. Mary and St. Michaels in Talbiya for prayer services, the Giza Governorate converted overnight a house facing the church into a mosque.The new so-called “Ekhlass” mosque was converted secretly Thursday evening when a cloth sign was hastily hung outside a 4 story house. It was used on Friday morning, when over 3000 Muslims prayed there, despite the presence of a large mosque on the other side of the bridge, not far from the new mosque. It was reported that the owner of the house, which is still under construction, donated it.

Of course the new mosque did not have to get a building license, local council or state security permission, as is the case with churches,” said Coptic activist Mark Ebeid.

Due to the minimum distance required by law between a church and a mosque, Copts view this conversion of the house into a new mosque “as a trick on the part of the government to make the completion and use of St. Mary’s Church an impossibility.”

We are devastated,” said a local Copt. “This church cost the poor people 7 million Egyptian pounds, which we collected by having to go without a lot in our homes, and there comes the governor and state security, angry because we built a dome and destroy it, kill our children, leave others maimed and the rest in prison for a very long time.”

Church building in Egypt is still partly governed by the Haayoni Decree of 1856, when Egypt was under Ottoman rule. After gaining independence in 1922, Egypt abolished all laws except for the Hamayouni Decree, which required the permission of the king or the president to build a church. In addition, in 1934 the Interior Minister, Al-Ezaby Pacha, issued a decree that stipulated 10 conditions that must be met prior to issuance of a presidential decree permitting the construction of a church. The conditions include the requirement that the distance between a church and a mosque be not less than 100 meters and the approval of the neighboring Muslim community. Additional considerations or conditions are the number of Christians in the area and whether or not the proposed church is near the Nile, public utility or a railway.

via House Converted Into Mosque Overnight In Egypt to Prevent Church Services.

Absolutely shameful. Of course, this happens without a word from major MSM or communication broadcasting companies, which of course, would shout Islamophobia at any moment. And what about Christianphobia?

Background:
Egypt: Islamists lay siege against Coptic church in Giza, 1 Christian killed.
Egypt: Security Used Live Ammunition on Christian Coptic Protesters, 4 Killed.
Egypt: Wounded Christians from Talbiya attack, mistreated at state hospitals

Iraq Attack Kills Elderly Assyrian Couple and their Daughter At Home

Of course, you’re not going to read this in any major MSM.

Iraqi police are reporting a new attack on Christians in Baghdad by gunmen who broke into the home of an elderly couple and killed them.It was the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s Christian minority, which has been fleeing the country in droves since an Oct. 31 assault on a Catholic church that killed 68.

Police said four gunmen raided the home in a predominantly Shiite neighborhood Sunday evening and repeatedly shot the couple with silenced pistols before escaping. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.

AINA Update: the daughter of the elderly couple was also killed in the same attack.

via Iraq Attack Kills Elderly Assyrian Couple At Home.

But this hasn’t been the only attack against Christians in Iraq in recent weeks:

Anti-Christian violence and persecution continue in Iraq. Two days after a Christian home was attacked in Mosul (northern Iraq), two Iraqi Christians were killed in the city’s Sina’a neighbourhood.

Sources told AsiaNews that unknown thugs entered a store owned by two Christian brothers, Saad and Waad (Raad) Hanna, 43 and 40 respectively, and shot them in cold blood. Waad died instantly, Saad, two hours later.

via IRAQ Two Christian brothers killed in Mosul – Asia News.

And more: Deadly Attacks on Iraqi Christian Assyrians Continue:

On Monday evening, police found an elderly Christian woman strangled in her home in central Mosul.

The attacks on Christians started October 31 in Baghdad have extended to the northern parts of the country, such as Mosul.

Last week, a bomb attached to the vehicle of a Christian man detonated in eastern Mosul, killing him and his 6-year-old daughter, local police told CNN.

The November 16 attack came one day after two Christian men in adjacent homes were killed after gunmen stormed their houses.

Also on November 15, a bomb detonated outside a Christian home. It caused damages but no injuries.

Yesterday the Pope prayed for murdered Christians in Iraq (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) and in Egypt (1, 2, 3) and for kidnapped Christians in the Sinai desert (via):

Pope prays for hostages in Sinai Desert

Pope Benedict XVI

I would like to watch this on the news. It’s shameful this is not being really reported (at least here, it isn’t):

Campaigners have welcomed the intervention by Pope Benedict XVI on behalf of refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan who are being held hostage in the Sinai Desert by people traffickers.

Hundreds of refugees from the Horn of Africa have been held for months on the outskirts of a town in the Sinai Desert in purpose-built containers, where Bedouin people traffickers are demanding payment of up to US$8,000 per person for their release, though the hostages had already paid US$2,000 for passage to Israel.

On 1 December Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Human Rights Concern Eritrea, Agenzia Habeshia and EveryOne Group issued a joint appeal for urgent international intervention in the plight of the refugees, who are currently being held in degrading and inhumane conditions, bound by chains around their ankles and denied adequate food and water. The appeal details extreme methods of torture suffered by the refugees, including electric shocks, to force friends and families abroad to make the payments. The women in the group, who have been separated from the rest, are particularly vulnerable to severe abuse.

During his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI invited pilgrims “to pray for all situations of violence, intolerance, suffering in the world, that the coming of Jesus may bring consolation, reconciliation and peace. I think of the many difficult situations, such as the continuous attacks that occur in Iraq against Christians and Muslims, the clashes in Egypt where there were deaths and injuries, the victims of traffickers and criminals, such as the drama of the hostages, Eritreans and of other nationalities, in the Sinai desert. Respect for the rights of all is the prerequisite for peace. Our prayer to the Lord and our solidarity can bring hope to those who are suffering.”

via Pope prays for hostages in Sinai Desert on Independent Catholic News.

Nobel Peace Prize ceremony boycott grows due to Chinese pressure

Free Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo was imprisoned for 11 years due to his participation in the document called Chapter 08, in which several people supported democracy and the end to the “one-party”

… China and 18 other countries have decided not to be represented “for various reasons.” It noted that number has tripled from six weeks ago.

The countries joining China in its boycott include Russia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, Tunisia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Pakistan, Egypt, Morocco and the Philippines.

The 58 countries who have embassies in Oslo were invited to attend.

China strongly objected to Liu’s win last October and levelled more criticism Tuesday, calling members of the Nobel committee “clowns” who are “interfering in China’s judicial affairs.”

The 54-year-old writer and academic was jailed in December 2009 to serve an 11-year term for subversion. He was detained just days before the publication of what has turned out to be an explosive political document, Charter 8, which he co-wrote.

Charter 08 calls for an end to one-party rule and the introduction of democratic reforms in China. It was signed, via the internet, by thousands of people, some of them Communist Party officials.

via CBC News – World – Nobel Peace Prize ceremony boycott grows.

Islamic countries: Poll shows growing majority favor Sharia Law, more Islam in public life

A majority of Muslims around the world welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries’ political life, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, but have mixed feelings toward militant religious groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

According to the survey, majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria would favor changing the current laws to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion. About 85% of Pakistani Muslims said they would support a law segregating men and women in the workplace.

Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria and Jordan were among the most enthusiastic, with more than three-quarters of Muslims polled in those countries reporting positive views of Islam’s influence in politics: either that Islam had a large role in politics, and that was a good thing, or that it played a small role, and that was bad.

Turkish Muslims were the most conflicted, with just more than half reporting positive views of Islam’s influence in politics. Turkey has struggled in recent years to balance a secular political system with an increasingly fervent Muslim population.

Many Muslims described an ongoing struggle in their country between fundamentalists and modernizers, especially those who may have felt threatened by the rising tides of conservatism. Among those respondents who identified a struggle, most tended to side with the modernizers. This was especially true in Lebanon and Turkey, where 84% and 74%, respectively, identified themselves as modernizers as opposed to fundamentalists.

In Egypt and Nigeria, however, most people were pulling in the other direction. According to the poll, 59% in Egypt and 58% in Nigeria who said there was a struggle identified with the fundamentalists.

via MUSLIM WORLD: Poll shows majority want Islam in politics; feelings mixed on Hamas, Hezbollah | Babylon & Beyond | Los Angeles Times.

Egypt: Wounded Christians from Talbiya attack, mistreated at state hospitals

Disgusting:

Christian Aid reports that “Muslims have attacked children in schools and people going to church. It ‘s like a war between police and Christians.”

Also there are other horrific events going on: “some hospitals have refused to assist the wounded Christians who had the choice to die or be hospitalized in private hospitals which are very expensive. But there are few who can afford to go to private hospitals. Christians wounded patients in other state hospitals were tied to beds to be delivered to the police once healed. In addition, the police denied permission to their families to visit them“.

Christian Aid wrote yesterday: “Another injured is dead. The families fear for the fate of the 156 arrested, and who do not respond to call. Nobody knows where they are.”

Found here.

(Translated by T&P).

Background:
Egypt: Islamists lay siege against Coptic church in Giza, 1 Christian killed.
Egypt: Security Used Live Ammunition on Christian Coptic Protesters, 4 Killed.

Egypt: Security Used Live Ammunition on Christian Coptic Protesters, 4 Killed

Egyptian police surroungs Talbiya Coptic church

Christian Copts worldwide were shocked and enraged at the use of live ammunition by Egyptian state security forces against unarmed Coptic protesters, causing the death of three Coptic young men. A four-year old child suffocated from tear gas thrown inside the chapel. Rights groups inside and outside of Egypt have condemned the use of excessive violence by security forces and the use of live ammunition against Coptic demonstrators.

Efforts by State Security to hide the use of firearms on unarmed protesters were in vain, as the rising death toll, hospital reports on those admitted, and video footage and eyewitness testimony have revealed the details of the incident. Coptic activists Sherif Ramzy and Ramy Kamel have conducted interviews with witnesses.

CSW Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston blamed the violence on “excessive” police tactics and expressed his sadness at the “unnecessary” loss of life and injuries.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said that the events are a serious escalation in the State’s treatment of its Christian citizens. “We’re not talking about social violence occasioned by the construction of a church, but rather security forces opening fire on protesters demanding their constitutional right to worship without arbitrary interference or discrimination,” said Hossam Bahgat, EIPR’s Executive Director. “Even assuming Copts in the area wanted to convert a services building into a church for worship, that does not justify this degree of police violence. Demonstrators should not be shot at for violating building codes“. EIPR called on the Public Prosecutor to prosecute the security personnel responsible for the deaths and injury of Christians.

Hany el Gezeyri, head of Copts for Egypt, denounced the use of live ammunition, adding that he is concerned “whether the discrimination of the state against the Copts became an official persecution or is this a way to terrorize Copts so that they keep silent?

Attorney Maged Hanna said that apart from the Copts, he is not aware of any incident in Egypt where live ammunition was fired against unarmed protesters, adding “this is a State terrorizing its citizens.”

via Egyptian Security Used Live Ammunition on Christian Coptic Protesters, 4 Killed.

Background: Egypt: Islamists lay siege against Coptic church in Giza, 1 Christian killed.