November 17, 2011
Attackers threw rocks, bricks and broken glass at Coptic Christians marching in Cairo today, injuring 10 and seriously injuring two, the Boston Globe reports. About 400 Christians marched through the neighborhood of Shubra to mark the end of 40 days of mourning after 27 Copts were killed in a clash with the Egyptian army Oct. 9, and attackers threw objects at them from a six-floor apartment building while "the police stood by and watched without doing anything," said marcher Hossam Victor. One 25-year-old marcher who declined to give his name, fearing retaliation, said police saw a tattoo of a cross on his upper arm and pushed him toward the attackers, who then beat him and broke his arm. Some of the Copts blamed the attack on supporters of Gamal Saber, an Islamist candidate in Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections; Saber called the Christians "stupid" and blamed them for starting the clashes as a way to harm his election campaign. Coptic Christians, who make up 10 percent of the population, feel under increasing threat with the rising popularity of radical Islamist groups and fear that religious persecution will only increase if Islamist candidates win the Nov. 28 elections.