Friday, 14 October 2011

Latest clashes reveal a lot about SCAF

The clashes between the military and mainly Coptic protesters in downtown Cairo on the night of 9th October, that left 25 dead and more than 200 injured, have raised grave concerns about Egypt spiralling towards sectarian conflict. It also raised worries about Supreme Council of the Armed Forces's (SCAF) competence to maintain order and indeed its willingness to hand over power.

There was some confusion about the sequence of events but evidence on video footage has helped establish an approximate timeline.

The march had been planned and announced. It was mainly fuelled by the authorities' failure to protect the Coptic community and its churches from attacks by Salafists and other groups. The final straw was the destruction of a church at Marinab, near Edfu in the governorate of Aswan. Muslim villagers had attacked a building used by Christians as a place of worship after they started building a dome on top of it. The governor of Aswan, Mustafa El Sayeed, weighed in stating that the Copts did not have a building permit.

It is notoriously difficult for Copts – who make up 10 per cent of the population – to obtain building permits for new churches. By contrast, Muslims can assign a space within a building as a prayer room and/or build a mosque without any major difficulties.

The most recent clashes were a culmination of a series of violent incidents this year.

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

No comments:

Post a Comment