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EGYPT: Government prohibits Coptic demonstrations on the anniversary of ‘Massacre of Maspero’

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(Agenzia Fides) – The Egyptian Ministry of Internal Affairs denied the associations of young Copts permission to organize a demonstration on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the massacre known as the “massacre of Maspero”. Permission to demonstrate – reported the official sources of the Ministry – was not granted for “security reasons”. The massacre of Maspero took place on October 9, 2011, during the transition period that followed the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, when the Egyptian government was in the hands of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. On that day the army, deployed in the vicinity of the building that houses the State television, opened fire on groups of protesters, mostly Copts, leaving behind 27 dead. The demonstrators had gathered to protest against the demolition of a church which took place in Upper Egypt.

Maspero Youth Union activists issued a statement, sent to Agenzia Fides, denouncing they had received even threats by the security forces, after their request to demonstrate had been rejected. The provisions – very restrictive – that in Egypt regulate the request and authorization to carry out public demonstrations came into force in November 2013, a phase of the Egyptian civil life characterized by high social tension, after the deposition of President Mohamed Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who had democratically won the presidential election in June 2012. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 06/10/2016)

Learn about the Maspero massacre by watching the video links below.

Maspero: A massacre of Christians in Egypt (60 Minutes Video Report)

On January 28th 2011 millions of Egyptians took to the street and crushed the police forces that for years had oppressed, imprisoned and tortured its citizens. That same night the Egyptian armed forces took over the vacuum left by the police apparatus. While claiming to serve the revolution and protect Egypt, the military began arresting people from protests, torturing them and court martialed them.

Massacre of Maspero victims

Massacre of Maspero victims

One of those incidents was on October 9th 2011 when thousands of protesters peacefully marched on the Maspero TV tower demonstrating against the military’s silence over the burning of a church and the armed forces recent attacks on a similar protest a few days earlier. That day the military killed 28 civilians, injured hundreds and arrested 30.

Two days later the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces held a press conference in which they claimed the soldiers had no live ammunition and the tanks at the scene were escaping protesters rather than trying to run them over. Only the protesters were to blame.

Three weeks later the armed forces called twelve civilians for questioning blaming them for the massacre. One of them was Mina Danial – one of the murdered protesters. Another was the blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah, who rejected being heard before a military court, and spent over a month in jail before all charges were dropped. Thank you to all those whose footage helped make this possible, particularly: Kiro Alex and Sarah Carr whose lives were in grave danger but captured the truth.

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Please pray for our brothers and sisters facing increasing oppression and persecution in Egypt.

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