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A scary day in Egypt

Both the New York Times and Al Jazeera are reporting on an outbreak of deadly protests in Egypt.  Members of the Coptic Church marched to protest a church that was burned in southern Egypt, and more generally the failure of the ruling military leadership to provide adequate security and protection to the Christian minority.  At some point, “thugs” met the crowd.  At another point, the army met the crowd as well.  Somewhere within, violence broke out, leading to the deaths of at least 24 people.  Muslims were standing alongside the Christians as well as opposite them during the chaos.  From the Times article:

State news media reported that at least three security officers had died in attacks by Christian protesters, though those accounts could not be confirmed. The protesters did not appear to be armed and they insisted they were peaceful until they were attacked.

In retaliation, military vehicles began driving into protesters, killing at least six, including one with a crushed skull, several witnesses said. Some said they saw more than 15 mangled bodies. Photographs said to depict some of them circulated online.

This is certainly a discouraging development for Egypt.  What are everyone’s thoughts on what we are seeing?  Indicative of bad things to come, or an odd blip?


One Response

  1. I read a really interesting Christian Science Monitor article about the protests today (http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1010/Why-did-Egypt-s-Army-violently-suppress-Christian-protesters-VIDEO), and it concludes that the military is mostly at fault – perhaps inciting tensions so as to tighten its grip on power and to justify its continued oversight of the transition to democracy. Other articles hinted at this, but this was the only one I saw that reported on Egyptian state tv’s coverage of the protests. The article states: “As the Army was running over and shooting protesters, Egyptians watching state television heard an entirely different story. The channel reported that armed Christians were attacking the Army, and broadcast appeals for Muslims to go to the street to defend the Army.” It’s no wonder that the protests devolved into a sectarian conflict if this report is true. It’s also a frightening prospect if this was indeed the military’s goal. Ugh, and I was so hopeful.

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