Egypt on edge as Copts mourn slain protesters
Mourners wept over the coffins of Coptic Christians on Monday as Egyptian officials and religious leaders sought to ease sectarian tensions amid rising anger toward the nation’s ruling military council.
Funerals for four of the more than 20 Coptic protesters killed Sunday by army police and thugs in plainclothes kept the country on edge. The Coptic Church denounced the military for allowing the attacks. And Christians hurled rocks at police outside a Cairo hospital where the bodies of other protesters awaited burial.
“Coptic blood in Egypt is cheap and the military council knows they can get away with killing us because we’re a minority,” said Fakhri Girgis Fakhri, a mourner at the funeral presided over by Coptic Pope Shenouda III. “When a Muslim protester gets killed, the whole country gets on its feet, but when Copts are killed, nothing happens.”
The violence broke out Sunday when thousands of Copts protesting the recent burning of a church in southern Egypt were attacked by thugs as armored personnel carriers rammed into crowds and crushed demonstrators. Police said the protesters started the trouble by pelting security forces with stones and gasoline bombs.
“Strangers got in the middle of our sons and committed mistakes to be blamed on our sons,” said a statement from the Coptic Church. It added that attacks and discrimination against Christians are “problems that occur repeatedly and go unpunished.”
Dozens of people have been detained and the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has ordered an investigation…