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As Egypt plans to hold parliamentary elections November 28 and rebuild its government following the events of the Arab Spring, a peaceful Christian-led protest turned into a bloody scene Sunday, leaving 25 to 35 people dead and 300 to perhaps 500 injured. The dead are believed to be mostly Christians.

Videos have shown that military police went to stop the protest, shooting, releasing tear gas, beating people with batons, and running people over with their trucks. Protestors maintain they had no weapons and were attacked by police and thugs, although early reports from Egypt's liberal media stated the protestors started the brutality and army personnel were killed (no army members were listed in the fatalities).

Coptic Christians have led protests in the months following the Arab Spring. Egyptian believers—the country's minority at 10 percent—have faced hindrances in society. After President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, more attacks against churches and Christian communities have occurred without repercussion, and some Islamists have been vocal about wanting Copts to have different rights than Muslims under the new government.

Coptic Christians have been frustrated with the repeated attacks and lack of justice, and with the intolerance and poor treatment they encounter because they are not Muslims.

What happened on Sunday was not the first time the military and others have used force against a peaceful Coptic protest, although it was the most violent. Last week, a sit-in was disrupted when the military fired their guns in order to chase protestors away from the National Television and Radio building (Maspero).

That protest was led by the Maspero Youth Union and Copts Without Borders (which dropped out during the march ...

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October 2011

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