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Egypt: Mourning the Heros of Maspero's Battle

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

Egyptians are pulling together after a bout of violence at the state television building Maspero, engineered to pit Muslim against Christian and vice versa. The clashes between protesters and the military police during a Coptic protest to demand answers over the burning of churches in Sohag and Aswan resulted in around 25 deaths and 200 injuries.

What was schemed as sectarian vandalism and a plot against the unity of Egyptians, has turned out to be a unifying force and a concrete wall to prove that what happened on the night of Black Sunday in Egypt is a Governor versus People clash rather than Christian versus Muslim one.

Despite the fact that there are people who still favor sectarianism and believe the army is sacred and can do no wrong, many netizens agreed that what had happened at Maspero was a massacre and an attack on all Egyptians.

Egyptian blogger Mahmoud Salem tweets:

@Sandmonkey: I should be the first to say it, don't say the army killed Christians. Say the army killed Egyptians. No more subgroups. #maspero

As per Lobna Darwish's firsthand account of the protest [ar], the demonstration was peaceful, with many Muslims present in solidarity:

”القسيس المتحدث بيأكد ان المسيرة سلمية و بيحيي المسلمين المتضامنين.”
The priest leading the march confirms that it is peaceful and salutes the Muslims who joined in solidarity

The march reached its destination after struggling with clashes midway, and was turning to a sit-in as reported by Adam Makary:

@adamakary: 1000s” of #Copts reportedly holding a sit-in @ #Maspero until those who burnt disputed churches in #Sohag and #Aswan are brought to justice

Then chaos broke out; the peaceful chanting scene turned red:

Image from blog.notesfromtheunderground.net

Image from blog.notesfromtheunderground.net

The scene of the armored vehicles attacking civilians in the street brought to the Egyptian minds the infamous scene of diplomatic plated vehicles running people over on January 28, at the beginning of the Egyptian revolution.

Ahmed Mounir, an eye witness, confirms [ar]:

فجأة وبدون مقدمات دخلت المدرعات في مشهد قريب من مشهد يوم الغضب 28 يناير ودهست اعداد كبيرة
واللي مش مصدق يشوف الفيديو دة
Suddenly, armored personnel carriers came around in a scene closer to Friday of Anger and ran over lots of people. Those who don't believe me check out this video

On YouTube, Mounir posts the following video which shows armoured carriers trying to run over protesters:

To add fuel to fire, Egyptian state television played a shameful part in igniting anger by accusing Copts of attacking the army.

Mahmood Salem exposes the scam. He tweets:

@Sandmonkey: The infamous Rasha Maged video where she lies and incites the public against the christians http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7m08JJdxao #maspero #egypt

The aftermath of the bloody night of horror was a bleeding mournful country, 20 plus dead and over 200 injured.

On Monday morning, lawyer Khalid Ali won a tiring different battle in the general prosecutor office to obtain autopsy permissions to ensure the blood spilled would not go in vain.

The result did not come as a shock.

@MHassan: Out of the 17 autopsies; 10 were crushed under vehicle. one had a sword cut, and the rest were killed by severe gunshots

Bullets were shown by relatives of the victims of the October 9 massacre. Photo taken from Arabist Blogpost.

Bullets were shown by relatives of the victims of the October 9 massacre. Photo taken from Arabist Blogpost.

While the autopsy was being conducted, people packed up inside and outside the Abbaseya Cathedral in preparation for the funeral procession to honor the souls of the martyrs. The funeral proved that Egyptians both Muslims and Christians were aware of the plot to create a sectarian rift between them. Amidst the prayers, the cathedral broke into blunt and strong chants against the military reign.

Following the procession, a march headed from the cathedral to Tahrir Square to pay tribute to activist Mina Daniel who has requested in the ambulance before he passed away that his funeral goes out from Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the Egyptian revolution.

Khaled Ali [ar] saw Mina's mom talking to herself and her deceased son:

متخفش أنا قوية وفرحانه عشان انت فرحان كنت عايز تموت شهيد عشان مصر وبقيت شهيد
@Khaledali251: Don't you worry, I am strong and happy because you are. You wanted to die as a martyr for Egypt, and you did

This post is part of our special coverage Egypt Revolution 2011.

Further reading:

Egypt: Deadly Crackdown on Coptic Protests by Greek blogger and Global Voices Online author Asteris Masouras.

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