A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, May 16, 2011

Breaking the Coptic Strike at Maspero

Over the weekend, Egypt's simmering sectarian tensions were exacerbated yet again when armed "thugs" attacked Coptic demonstrators who had been staging a strike in front of the Egyptian Radio/Television building along the Nile in what is known as the Maspero neighborhood. Some 78 people were injured, some from gunshots.The attackers were not bearded Salafis, but rather fit the pattern of the armed ruffians known as baltagiyya, often accused of being provocateurs from the old regime.

Though some have claimed this was not religiously motivated, it is certainly being interpreted as another attempt to ignite sectarian conflict, and Coptic Pope Shenouda III has urged that the strike be ended immediately, though the demonstrators continued yesterday. Zeinobia's thoughts on her blog are here.

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