By Nader Shukry
Last Sunday saw a demonstration by Copts and rights activists in Tahrir Square in Downtown Cairo. The demonstration, which was organised by the Copts for Egypt movement and the Million Centre for Human Rights, and in which some 300 people took part, was held to protest the escalating violence against Copts on account of their religious identity.
Even though the demonstration was originally planned to march from Tahrir to Parliament, some half-a-kilometre away, the security forces prevented the move. Nonetheless, they protected the demonstrators and no skirmishes occurred.
The demonstrators chanted slogans which condemned the violence against Copts and the government inaction on that head. One banner read: “What grief! What shame! An Egyptian has shot his brother”, and another: “I have a right to celebrate Christmas; instead I had to see my brother killed”.
Hany al-Gezeiri, head of Copts for Egypt, presented a memorandum to Speaker of Parliament Fathy Sorour demanding a unified law for building places of worship, enforcing the law to bring the culprits to justice, and taking to account the officials who were inadequate or deficient in tackling the sectarian issue.
The demonstration witnessed an unprecedented large participation of young Coptic women. Nivene Girgis said that most of the women participants did so spontaneously out of an increasing sentiment of being threatened in their country.