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ICC Note:

Egyption security forces open fire in a hostile attempt to stop the construction of a church.  Four Chistians were killed, 78 wounded, and 170 were charged in conjunction with the inncodent.

12/03/2010 Egypt (AINA) – In what is viewed as a precedent by right groups, Egyptian state security forces opened fire on November 24 on Christian Copts, killing four, wounding 78, detaining hundreds and charging 170 with grievous charges — “enough to keep them behind bars for 10-15 years,” says Coptic political analyst Magdy Khalil.

Working at the construction site of their new church in Talbiya, Omraniya, an area south of

Cairo densely populated by poor Christians, the congregation was surprised at dawn by nearly 5000 security forces, opening fire on them with live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas. They responded by hurling stones or throwing back at them their tear gas bombs. To protest against this attack, nearly 3000 area Copts went to the Governorate building, where they were met again with a hail of live ammunition and tear gas; many were wounded and arrested. Coptic youth hurled stones, broke glass and two kiosks (AINA 11-30-2010).

The true number of those arrested is unknown as not all are yet charged. It was reported that police are still arresting Coptic men from the area, making families stay indoors. 170 men have been charged to-date.

Mikhail decried that two of his adult clients who were injured were sent to detention before they were healed. One underwent an operation to remove bullets from his abdomen and the other had both legs broken after falling off the scaffolding at church due to tear gas fired in his direction. “I will present a complaint to Attorney General to bring them back to hospital.”

Dr. ElBaradei, former IAEA Director General, called the incident a “Stain on the conscience of Egypt.” The government claimed the Coptic Church attempted to present a “fait accompli” by building a church when they had a permit for a community center, and called the protesters “thugs” who wanted to take the law in their own hands.

The Governor of Giza went on national TV to justify his actions, saying the Copts hid by some sort of material a “dome” which indicates that the building would become a church for religious services and not a community services center as claimed. But prior to the demonstrations the Governor had sent to the Church congregation his secretary, who congratulated them on the Governor changing the permit to allow the building to be a church.

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