News / Middle East

Egyptian-Americans Protest in DC for Fellow Coptic Christians

Carla Babb

Hundreds of Egyptian-American protesters marched from the White House to the the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to show solidarity with their fellow Coptic Christians who were killed recently in Egypt.

The protesters gathered late Wednesday to ask the U.S. to stop giving aid to an Egyptian military, which they accuse of killing "Coptic Christians."

They say the Egyptian government has been unable or unwilling to protect Coptics, who are vastly outnumbered in the mainly Muslim country.

On October 9, at least 23 people were killed and 150 injured in Cairo  when a protest by Coptic Christians over the recent burning of a church escalated into rioting against military rule.

Several Coptic Christian groups organized Wednesday's demonstration in Washington. Martina Beshai, of the Washington-based group Coptic Solidarity, said security and freedom of religion are "basic rights" that every person in the world should have.

Sporting a hat with the words "I Love Jesus", protester Emad Aziz said he did not want his U.S. tax dollars to support a government that kills his fellow Egyptian Christians.

Demonstrator Assad Shehada blamed President Barack Obama for the recent sectarian violence, saying the U.S. aid to Egypt was "supporting terrorists."  Several signs at the protest echoed his sentiment, asking "Where are you Obama?"  The White House had responded to the violence by expressing deep concern and calling for restraint by all sides.

Hundreds of rioters fought with police in Cairo last week. At one point, an armored security van sped into the crowd, crushing some protesters to death. Two soldiers also died in the October 9 clashes.

Egypt's ruling military council called for an investigation into the violence.

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