Flames lit up downtown Cairo, where massive clashes raged drawing Christians angry over a recent church attack, hard-line Muslims and Egyptian security forces. At least 24 people were killed and more than 200 injured in the worst sectarian violence since the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in February.
(Instead of importing tens of thousands of Muslim freeloaders to the U.S., Obama should be bringing in persecuted Christians from Muslim countries. But he doesn’t want Christians here. He is bent on flooding this country with as many illiterate, unskilled, violent Muslim filth as he can get in here using taxpayer dollars to fund)
FOX NEWS The rioting lasted late into the night, bringing out a deployment of more than 1,000 security forces and armored vehicles to defend the state television building along the Nile, where the trouble began. The military clamped a curfew on the area until 7 a.m.
The clashes spread to nearby Tahrir Square, drawing thousands of people to the vast plaza that served as the epicenter of the protests that ousted Mubarak. On Sunday night, they battled each other with rocks and firebombs, some tearing up pavement for ammunition and others collecting stones in boxes.
At one point, an armored security van sped into the crowd, striking a half-dozen protesters and throwing some into the air. Protesters retaliated by setting fire to military vehicles, a bus and private cars, sending flames rising into the night sky.
Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people, blame the country’s ruling military council for being too lenient on those behind a spate of anti-Christian attacks since Mubarak’s ouster. As Egypt undergoes a chaotic power transition and security vacuum in the wake of the uprising, the Coptic Christian minority is particularly worried about the show of force by ultraconservative Islamists.
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 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.
Ahmed Yahia, a Muslim resident who lives near the TV building, said he saw the military vehicle plow into protesters. “I saw a man’s head split into two halves and a second body flattened when the armored vehicle ran over it.
Later in the evening, a crowd of ultraconservative Muslims known as Salafis turned up to challenge the Christian crowds, shouting, “Speak up! An Islamic state until death!” Armed with sticks, the Muslim assailants chased the Christian protesters from the TV building, banging metal street signs to scare them off. It was not immediately clear who the attackers were.
Gunshots rang out at the scene, where lines of riot police with shields tried to hold back hundreds of Christian protesters chanting, “This is our country!”
In the past weeks, riots have broken out at two churches in southern Egypt, prompted by Muslim crowds angry over church construction. One riot broke out near the city of Aswan, even after church officials agreed to a demand by local Salafi Muslims that a cross and bells be removed from the building.
Aswan’s governor, Gen. Mustafa Kamel al-Sayyed, further raised tensions by suggesting to the media that the church construction was illegal.