Tensions between Christians and Muslims are being stoked up by
The number of casualties after a police-army crackdown on Coptic Christians last night has risen to at least 24 killed and hundreds injured on the streets of
Provocateurs were clearly at work, as plainclothes thugs with protection from the police and military attacked the mainly Coptic demonstrators. A peaceful protest-sit down at the state television building in the centre of
Anger had been simmering in southern
The attacks on
Prime minister, Essam Sharaf, Egypt’s first post-revolution Prime Minister, has written on his cabinet’s Facebook page that “invisible hands are plotting to partition Egypt” with "attempts to spark chaos and strife among the homeland sons," in an attempt to defuse tension. Sharaf has called an emergency meeting with the “ministerial crisis management committee” for today.
Protesters marched on Egyptian state television in the Maspiro district of Cairo when it only reported police casualties but said nothing about the ferocious attack on the protesters. Three news producers on state TV had denounced their own channel’s bias, and accused them of “sectarian incitement”. As clashed continued around
Eye witnesses saw armoured vehicles driving straight through crowds of protesters. In one place 15 people were crushed. The bodies taken to Coptic Maspiro and Abbasseya had injuries showing they had been killed by massive force. Security forces followed the wounded to hospitals and prevented journalists and relatives from entering.
As the Guardian’s Jack Shenker writes from Egypt: “Egypt's beleaguered Coptic community, who have known from the early days of the anti-Mubarak uprising that those seeking to protect the status quo would try their hardest to sow social instability as a precursor for rolling back revolutionary gains – and that with a current of genuine communal distrust often bubbling away below the surface, sectarian tension would be the easiest of targets.”
When a political regime is in crisis, provoking religious and ethnic clashes is par for the course, as history has shown time and again. The state-sponsored attack on
The issues of unemployment, poverty and discrimination that drove the January revolution forward remain. They cannot be tackled while the discredited army leadership, which was in Mubarak’s pay and owns large chunks of the economy, remains in control.
The ousting of Mubarak must be continued by people’s assemblies taking action to oust his remaining cronies and the military council for good.
A World to Win secretary