Several Coptic protesters were killed today when the Egyptian military and militants attacked their sit-in protest.
The Coptic protesters were protesting violence against the Christian minority.
The AP reported:
Fierce clashes erupted Sunday between Christians protesting a recent attack on a church and the Egyptian military, leaving at least 19 people dead and more than 150 injured, Health Ministry officials said.
In rioting outside the state television building along the Nile in Cairo, witnesses said some of the protesters may have snatched weapons from the soldiers and turned them on the military. The protesters also pelted the soldiers with rocks and bottles.
The clashes spread to nearby Tahrir Square and the area around it, drawing in thousands of people. They battled each other with rocks and firebombs, some tearing up pavement for ammunition and others collecting stones in boxes. At one point, a group of youths with at least one riot policeman among them dragged a protester by his legs for a long distance.
The Christian protesters said their demonstration began as a peaceful attempt to sit in at the television building. But then, they said they came under attack by thugs in plainclothes who rained stones down on them and fired pellets.
“The protest was peaceful. We wanted to hold a sit-in, as usual,” said Essam Khalili, a protester wearing a white shirt with a cross drawn on it. “Thugs attacked us and a military vehicle jumped over a sidewalk and ran over at least 10 people. I saw them.”
Wael Roufail, another protester, corroborated the account.
“I saw the vehicle running over the protesters. Then they opened fired at us,” he said.
Egyptian Christians clash with soldiers and riot police during a protest against an attack on a church in southern Egypt, in Cairo October 9, 2011. Nineteen people were killed in Cairo on Sunday when Christians, some carrying crosses and pictures of Jesus, clashed with military police, medical and security sources said, in the latest sectarian flare-up in a country in political turmoil. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)